We know that Microsoft has been pushing AI functionality into Bing, which seems to have caught Google a little unexpectedly. No doubt Google has big AI and search plans of its own, and much of it just leaked.
A report from The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) (via Android Police (opens in new tab)) outlines how Google plans to add its own AI chatbot to search the web, as Microsoft has done. It also wants to make search more “personal” and varied, with short videos and social media posts in addition to the standard list of links.
This is based on internal documents leaked from Google, which also mention that search needs to be made “more visual”, “snackable” and “more human” – so make those buzzwords what you will. Most of these changes should take place this year.
Here comes Magic
The conversational AI bot — which corresponds to the ChatGPT-powered bot in Bing — is apparently called Magi. That’s the same thing we heard in a New York Times article last month, and its development has apparently accelerated in recent weeks.
This part of the Google search refresh could debut at Google IO 2023, with major announcements on Wednesday, May 10. While Google has already launched its Bard chatbot, it has yet to integrate it into its other products.
The idea is to help users find results and answers they otherwise wouldn’t find through the current Google search interface. Get ready to hear a lot more about artificial intelligence and new ways of searching from Google in the coming months.
Analytics: The way we search is changing
Google changed the way people searched the web when it launched in 1998. It’s hard to believe now, but in the early days of the Internet, directories of sites, broken down by topic and category, were the most common way to navigate online.
Automated crawling bots allowed Google to index the entire web without human help, and now the next generation of AI arrives to answer questions in natural language, provide more details and nuances, simplify complex topics, and much more (as we have already seen from Bing AI).
Based on this latest report, Google also wants to get website owners on their side by offering attribution in search results. If users get their answers from a chatbot without having to click a link, it raises questions about how new content to feed the AI will be written and paid for.
It’s hard to predict exactly how this new wave of AI innovation will play out, but it looks like we’re leaving the old ways of searching the web behind for good — and that will mean big changes for consumers, search engines, and publishers alike.