Who needs to search the web for information when one can receive a direct answer to any query from a well-trained AI? More and more people are turning to AI-driven services like ChatGPT for problems they once solved through web searches — which is a significant concern for Google. Long the most dominant force on the web, Google is now scrambling to remain relevant in a world shifting so rapidly to adopt AI solutions. So, what exactly is Google planning, and how could it affect digital marketing? Read on to find out.
Additional AI-powered Features
The concept of artificial intelligence is not new to Google, which as one of the largest tech companies on Earth has long embraced AI solutions. For years, at least four distinct AI programs have augmented Google’s search capabilities: RankBrain, Neural Matching, BERT and MUM. The first of these, RankBrain, was launched in 2015 and helps the Google algorithm determine how to organize search results optimally, and the most recent, the Multitask Unified Model (MUM), helps parse more nuanced queries to deliver customized results.
However, Google seems to be planning to expand AI tools in search in coming years to ensure that web users receive as much value from the search engine as they would from an advanced AI chatbot. Though the AI-powered features are not set in stone — and the public likely won’t be made aware of them until after they launch — rumors include AI-supported shopping and AI-aided medical diagnosis, both of which are already somewhat available through the rich snippets generated by today’s Google search. Google also may be experimenting with solutions that help write code through the search bar, which is one of ChatGPT’s most common functions, but how that service might operate is yet unclear.
A Brand-new Search Engine
As reported by the New York Times, Google is planning an even more significant move to counter the rise of AI chatbots: an AI chatbot of their own. Currently called Magi, the chatbot would function as a separate pseudo–search engine, with a chat-like interface similar to what users experience with ChatGPT.
Traditionally, web users with questions are forced to sift through a search results page with 10 or more webpages filled with information that may or may not lead them to an answer. This process requires time and energy, which many web users are loath to expend on simple concerns. With a chatbot, users can ask a question and receive a direct answer, eliminating the need to research — as long as the chatbot is trustworthy. Google hopes that it can train Magi to deliver answers that are adapted to individual users, increasing the value it can provide and ensuring user satisfaction.
Digital Marketing Details
Many digital marketers have responded badly to the news of Google’s seeming AI revolution, believing that it will spell the end of all established strategies for gaining visibility on the web. However, there is little reason to believe this to be the case. AI or no, Google will remain a publicly traded company, which means it needs a method of generating profits. Most likely, that means that ads will remain a fixture of Google’s business model — on search and on Magi. What’s more, because of the planned expansion of Google’s shopping features, advertisements and sponsored content could be even more lucrative and thus demand even more assistance from experienced digital marketing teams.
Additionally, artificial intelligences do not generate their own information whole-cloth; they pull information from available datasets. For bots like ChatGPT and Magi, those datasets include content found online, which means creating and publishing online content will continue to be a valuable enterprise for businesses. Businesses could prioritize working with digital marketing agencies that utilize services from white label SEO firms, as they will have the expertise to understand and adapt to shifting content needs in light of AI adoption.
No one is entirely certain how the looming AI revolution will shape the internet, let alone our lives. However, Google’s swift move into greater AI development signals a need for businesses to plan for major changes to online search, which should begin with a partnership with a future-focused digital marketing agency.