In our last post, we spoke about the beginnings of the AI war between Google and Bing with regards to Chat GPT and how Bing has incorporated this into their search function. In this month’s post, the discussions on this “AI war” continues as Google has announced the addition of Chat AI into their search functions through the re-introduction of Bard. 


For an update on the AI war, Google introduced their Chatbot, Bard, however this was a failure with Bard getting very simple and widely known facts, incorrect. Bing on the other hand has been seeing major success from their incorporation of Chat GPT into their search function. It has been expected that Microsoft will generate $2 billion from every percentage point it gains in search market share, of which Google earns 90. In addition to the introduction of Bard being a failure, Google has seemed to be lagging behind in terms of introducing AI to their users, with only having introduced it in Gmail and Google Docs. 


A recent development however, on Google’s part in this AI war, has been through the announcement of incorporating generative AI into Google search, with the chatbot Bard. 


In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, explained that introducing generative AI in Google search is not in retaliation to Bing chat and not a tactic to keep their market share intact. In fact, Google claims that they do not feel threatened by Bing and explains that they have been working on developing and incorporating large language models (LLM’s) into search for a significant period of time now. Sundar Pichai explained that the delay to the addition of Bard in Google search has been due to the complexities that LLM’s face in terms of regulation and the multiple errors they tend to produce in search results. Google has therefore, expressed that they have been aiming at practicing responsibility with LLM’s rather than rushing the release of them for its users.  


So, how will Bard fare against Bing Chat?


Google has expressed that in order for Bard to produce as few flawed responses as possible, they have shifted focus away from search and have now placed this focus on chatbot response rating. They have done this by asking testers to evaluate a number of chatbot responses to varied questions in order to test the reliability of chatbot answers. In addition to putting funds into chatbot response accuracy, Google has also explained that Bard will be able to engage in deeper search with users by giving Bard the ability to reply to follow up search questions by users, therefore users can potentially use Bard for complex search.


In addition to users being able to use Bard for complex search topics through follow up questions, another interesting feature Google has implemented in Bard is through its promise to creators and publishers to keep increasing traffic to the web every year. Google has ensured to keep this promise through the manner in which Bard will be integrated into Google search in order to keep users engaged with content on the web. 


In order to do so, Bard has been designed to make search more effective and available for users by summarizing its answers to complex questions in an understandable manner for users. This will in turn encourage users to dig deeper and engage more with content on the web. Bard will then prompt the user to investigate deeper into their own questions by suggesting follow-up articles to read or by suggesting follow up questions to ask. This feature also allows users to read up on different perspectives to that of Bard to ensure reliability. 


The images below, explain this feature in a more practical sense. Starting with the image on the left, Bard has summarized the answer to the user’s question of “What are the best constellations to look out for when stargazing?” in a concise and understandable manner. Moving to the middle image, Bard then suggests further articles to read to dig deeper into Bard’s response, but also suggests follow up questions for users to expand their knowledge in their own search, therefore bringing further traffic to more content. In the image on the right, the user has clicked on the follow up question of, “what time of year best to see them” which is answered by Bard, but along with follow up articles and content for users to engage with. 


What this function ultimately ensures, is the maintenance of this “healthy eco-system” amongst publishers, content and users that these internet giants continuously speak of and promise to maintain with the introduction of AI in search.  


Turning the discussion to Bing, with regards to their promise to publishers of increased user engagement and publisher revenue, Bing has announced that ads will be introduced into Bing chat, as well as a “hover experience” (which has been explained later in the article). These changes have been implemented to once again ensure that a healthy ecosystem is created and maintained amongst publishers and Bing search. 


Bing has explained that ads will be incorporated into Bing Chat in a seamless manner, and a more natural manner in comparison to how we see ads in search engine results today. Rather than ads possibly being seen as a nuisance, they will be seen as a sort of suggestion that a friend is giving you in response to your question about something. These ads will ultimately increase the revenue of publishers, and therefore maintain their motivation to publish content on the web.


In terms of the “hover experience” that Bing will be implementing, this will be to encourage users to engage more with the content created and published by publishers. What this will basically entail, is a feature that shows the user’s citations for follow up articles to their questions or the citations from which Bing Chat has generated its answers, therefore encouraging users to still click on links and engage with content on the web.

Why do we care?

After having read these new updates and developments in Google and Bing, it is always important to know and understand how this can affect you in your work life. More specifically, these updates could affect SEO in a very positive light by ensuring that the motivation remains for publishers to create content, and that users are still encouraged to click on links in articles and engage with different sources on the web. These updates could also spark creativity by investigating what sort of keywords are used in Bard’s follow up question features, therefore ensuring your content remains relevant. 


As mentioned last month, out of the continuation of this AI war will come even more exciting and innovative developments which will transform the landscape of search. It remains important to therefore keep a close eye on these developments and the ever-evolving manner in which it affects search. 


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