In a blink of an eye, the entire market for search engines that Google has dominated for years has been upended. Building on the impressive public launch of ChatGPT, Microsoft demoed a revamped Bing with ChatGPT enhancements. The search bar has now been replaced with a box for chatting. Google announced its own AI-powered Bard, although the announcement was marred by an error in one of Bard’s answers.
It’s clear that the next phase of search is occurring right now. Instead of search engines, we will have “chat engines” in which you engage with AI in a colloquy or conversation.
This is a dramatic reshaping of the user experience–and it has profound, potentially negative, consequences for millions of websites. If the chat engine can provide the user the answer without the need for visiting any website, the traffic to websites will be reduced dramatically.