ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, was released by OpenAI in November 2022. Just three months later, Google was reported to have invested about $300 million into Anthropic, a startup founded by former OpenAI employees, in late 2022. This has given the search engine giant a 10% stake in the company.
Does this mean that Google is playing catch-up with OpenAI? The answer is complicated.
Upon its release, ChatGPT opened up new possibilities for artificial intelligence (AI). Users of the AI chatbot were immediately fascinated with its ability to deliver direct answers to queries quickly. What’s more, the AI chatbot provides information in a conversational manner, unlike typical search engine results pages (SERPs) that only deliver lists of links and snippets of information.
The surprise release of OpenAI ChatGPT not only took the world by storm but also took Google by surprise, causing it to issue an internal “code red.” The search engine giant had actually been working on its own conversational large language models, collectively known as LaMDA, since 2021, but had not yet rolled it out to the public at the time OpenAI ChatGPT was released.
So, while the general public might not have been aware of Google’s focus on AI, the tech giant definitely wasn’t resting on its laurels in terms of AI research and development. However, Google has indeed been slow to release an artificial intelligence chatbot or other AI tools compared to Microsoft.
But First – What Is ChatGPT, and What Are AI Language Models?
ChatGPT is a conversational AI tool developed by OpenAI, an AI research and deployment firm. OpenAI is funded by Microsoft, which leverages OpenAI’s language models in its product, the Bing Chatbot.
AI language models are used in machine learning to learn from text. What’s more, a language model can be used for creating original text and predicting the next word in a text. A language model’s use cases may also include the following:
• Recognizing speech, optical characters and handwriting
• Analyzing user sentiment
• Insight generation from unstructured data
• Content creation
• Machine translation
• Answering questions from users, as in AI-powered search tools
Right now, several language models are being used in AI applications. Some examples of AI language models are:
• Bert (Google)
• GPT-3 (OpenAI)
• Turing NLG (Microsoft)
• LaMDA (Google)
• OPT (Meta)
If you’re wondering, “what is ChatGPT for,” the answer is: A lot. It’s more than just a question-and-answer artificial intelligence chatbot. As a generative artificial intelligence tool, it can write essays and poems, create grocery lists, plan travel itineraries, write code and more. Users can even have conversations with it that mimic average human interactions.
OpenAI announced on March 15, 2023, that it was starting to release a new artificial intelligence model, GPT-4. The new AI tool will be “multimodal,” meaning it could respond not just to text queries but also to image prompts. What’s more, the AI tool is predicted to be a vast improvement on its older language model, GPT-3.
Faint Heart Never Won Fair Market Share
Google has historically had a cautious approach toward AI. According to a Wall Street Journal article, a Google spokesperson stated that the company has to be more careful than smaller startups about releasing AI technologies. The spokesperson also said a significant gap exists between a research prototype and a viable product that is safe to use daily.
Google might have been right in its more careful approach toward its AI products. For instance, Microsoft’s Bing Chat AI, a conversational AI platform, has generative artificial intelligence capabilities. This means it can make unique content and respond creatively to prompts, such as user queries.
However, it generated countless headlines for inaccurate, aggressive or just plain odd answers to users’ questions. Bing Chat’s misfires prompted a nationwide conversation about the abilities, limitations and dangers of AI in general and generative artificial intelligence tools in particular.
Shortly after the NYT published a troubling conversation between a reporter and Bing Chat, Microsoft added restrictions to the Bing conversational AI platform. It has since added new modes that allow users to toggle between “original and imaginative” content and factual answers.
As far as the AI tech battle goes, Google appears to be rejoining the fray with its announcement of Bard in February. Bard is a conversational AI service powered by LaMDA. The AI chatbot is currently only available to use by a few select beta testers, but Google has stated on its blog that it plans to make it more widely available in the coming weeks.
Like the ChatGPT-powered Bing Chatbot, Bard has generative AI features. It could pull information from the Internet to answer user queries in a creative and conversational manner.
Coupled with the release of Bard, the announcement that Google has invested in Anthropic for a 10% stake in the company clearly shows that competition between Google and Microsoft in the AI space is heating up.
What Is Anthropic? Here’s What We Know
Anthropic, in which Google has a 10% stake, is a tech startup focused on AI safety and products. According to its website, it aims to “build reliable, interpretable, and steerable AI systems.”
Anthropic was founded in 2021 by former OpenAI employees Dario Amodei, previously OpenAI’s VP of research, and his sister Daniela, who had served as OpenAI’s VP of safety and policy. The siblings left OpenAI due to directional differences, and several other OpenAI employees joined them.
What is Anthropic doing right now? The Google-backed firm made headlines on March 14 when it officially released what experts believe is a solid rival to OpenAI ChatGPT: Claude. Like ChatGPT, the Anthropic AI Claude is an AI chatbot capable of tasks ranging from answering questions to generating code. What’s more, the tone, personality and behavior of this conversational AI platform can be tweaked by the user.
Claude’s differentiator appears to be the fact that it’s less likely to go off the rails than other chatbots. Anthropic describes it as “helpful, honest and harmless.” The firm has given access to the Anthropic AI to certain businesses, including the search engine tool DuckDuckGo, which also uses OpenAI’s technology.
AI: Coming Soon to a Google Doc Near You
Google’s investment in Anthropic and the launch of the Anthropic AI Claude come amidst other AI-related news, including Google’s announcement of new generative AI features for its Workspace apps. These include Docs, Slides, Gmail and Sheets.
The announcement came just days before Microsoft previewed an AI tool for Microsoft365, its suite of products that include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
Google’s generative AI features for Google Workspace are slated to be rolled out to testers throughout the year. With these AI tools, users will be able to generate new backgrounds in Meet, brainstorm and write on Docs and generate images, sound and video in Slides and more.
The tech giant’s doubling down on AI aligns with what Google management reportedly had told staff back in December 2022, which was to add more AI features to its tools. The tech giant is working hard to catch up with its competitors in terms of delivering usable generative AI products that add value for consumers. As the technology becomes more refined, consumers can expect Google to provide more AI-enabled services to its users in the future.
How AI Affects SEO: The Implications of AI for SEO and Digital Marketing
Brands and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists are understandably concerned about how AI advancements can affect their digital marketing efforts.
We’ve sounded out two of our in-house experts to get their insights on how AI affects SEO strategies.
“Google BARD has the potential to significantly impact SEO and digital marketing strategies,” said Ken Romero, a Demand Generation SEO specialist at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency.
“By allowing the indexing of individual page sections, BARD could enable more precise search results and improve user experience.”
Romero believes that Bard and other AI search tools and chatbots present a new challenge for digital marketers to optimize individual sections for search.
“As BARD continues to evolve, it will be important for marketers to stay up to date on its implications and adapt their strategies accordingly,” said Don Gruspe, a Demand Generation SEO strategist at Thrive.
“Google BARD will definitely shake things up in the world of SEO. This means that companies will need to create more engaging content that speaks directly to users instead of just relying on keywords,” Gruspe said. “Focusing on high-quality, conversational content that adds real value should be their top priority. Businesses should optimize content for people, not just search engines.”
Gruspe’s advice is supported by Google’s own stance on quality, people-first content. In 2022, Google released its “helpful content” update, which rewards creators for providing their website visitors with satisfying, useful content.
The Way Forward
While some may fear that AI, particularly in Search, could negatively impact their current SEO and digital marketing strategies, it is possible to ride the AI wave and come out on top. Continuing to focus on creating content for humans and not search engines is just one of the many things you can do to ensure continued success in the online space, even when AI changes the game.
Thrive can help. We are a digital marketing agency with a multi-disciplinary team of SEO and digital marketing experts. Our focus is to create content for our clients that appeal to and deliver value to their customers while boosting their ranking on SERPs.
Apart from SEO, we have a full suite of services to help you get found by more potential customers, increase your conversion rate, strengthen your brand reputation and increase your sales. These services include:
We stay up to date on the latest updates and changes to Google and other search engines, so our clients are always ahead of the curve. Learn more about our services and how we can help you thrive despite the changes caused by the AI revolution. Contact us today.