Why All These New AI Chatbots Are Fighting So Hard For Your Attention

The future of search is in your hands

  • Google Search accounts for 85 percent of web searches.
  • AI chatbots like the new Microsoft Bing may offer enough search enhancements to entice people away from Google Search.
  • Google has its own chatbot, Bard, on the way, but there’s no clear timeline for when it will be available for widespread use.
Someone sitting at a table with their finger on a bring spot on a tablet computer and a search bar overlaying the image.

Surasak Suwanmake / Getty Images

When was the last time you used a search engine other than Google? 

Google Search makes up 85 percent of all web searches and has been on top since around 2000. To that end, 'Google' is synonymous with search, like 'Coke' is synonymous with soda. It's an institution, but this is tech, and soon, your favorite search engine might not be Google. Enter AI-enhanced chatbots like ChatGPT, Bing, YouChat, and others. Google even has its own chatbot in the works, but this rush to see who can provide the best AI-assisted search could drastically shake up how you use the web. 

"I recently learned about a father showing his son the new Bing, and together they discovered and created in a way not easily done with today's search engines," wrote Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President & Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, in the Microsoft announcement for Bing's AI-powered advancements. "In just a few queries, they captured the wonder and potential of the new Bing and Edge. We are hearing many similar stories."

Chatbots Are Winning Hearts (and Minds)

Google’s Bard looks promising but is still a ways off. Bing, YouChat, and other AI search engines are here right now, all vying for your attention using technology that is constantly improving. 

A screenshot of the new Microsoft Bing on the Edge Browser.


Chatbots communicate like a human, thanks to large language modeling algorithms and some AI (artificial intelligence) wizardry. They can write essays, compose poetry, write computer code, and, most importantly, answer complex queries using human-sounding language while remembering context. 

That last one sounds a lot like web search, and no company has invested more in this concept than Microsoft, which has spent more than $10B to develop AI technologies and nurture OpenAI's ChatGPT platform.  

These bots make search more engaging, more fun, and more useful, and the recent release of the new AI-enhanced Bing has created real waves in the industry. The new Bing is fully integrated with a proprietary version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, an LLM built explicitly for search. The end result? As Microsoft alludes, it is like having a helpful assistant right there with you at the search bar.

The AI-powered Bing answers questions and creates nuanced content using current information, delivering this data with the kind of personality and charm only a chatbot could provide. It may also offer a chance for the company to catch up to, and perhaps even surpass, Google. 

To that end, Bing and the Microsoft Edge browser have seen massive jumps in downloads and usage since announcing the AI chatbot, despite only being available through a waiting list. TechCrunch reports that Bing experienced a 10x increase in new downloads in the past few weeks, jumping to number 12 on the list of free iPhone apps.

Closeup on a search bar on a web browser.

pearleye / Getty Images

“When users recognize the value as they start to try the new Bing, we are hoping to drive engagement,” Divya Kumar, Global Head of Marketing for Search and AI at Microsoft, told Lifewire. “The new Bing understands natural language, saves time, increases efficiency and productivity, and makes the search journey more fun. At the end of the day, it’s all about consumer value.”

Kumar points to several features tied to Bing that make it stand out from current (and future) competitors. The AI-enhanced chatbot can read documents and automatically generate tables to summarize key details. It also integrates neatly with other Microsoft products, like Edge and Skype, to provide what Kumar calls a “copilot experience” for the web. 

But Microsoft is not the only company trying to claim your attention, either. Startups like YouChat, Perplexity, and Phind are leveraging their own custom-built AI chatbots to create unique search experiences. YouChat’s bot answers queries like a human would (and like the new Bing) but can also add useful visuals.

AI Chatbots Will Change the Way We Search 

Companies, and entire industries, are often hit unprepared by new technologies, like video stores and bookstores at the birth of the Internet. Google, though, has seen the writing on the wall and is hard at work on its own AI chatbot, Bard.

Bard uses the company’s proprietary LaMDA technology, short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, which directly rivals OpenAI’s ChatGPT. According to the New York Times, Google’s founders are pitching ideas to “put more chatbot features” into the search engine. 

Web search is changing. It could soon be replaced by AI-enhanced assistants that answer questions in real-time, create itineraries on the fly, and add a layer of context to web searches. Major players like Google Bard and Microsoft Bing will continue to fight for our attention, but there are always upstarts like YouChat waiting in the wings. In other words, we have ourselves a ballgame, and no matter what, you’ll be the winner as we experience true innovation going forward.

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