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How AI Will Replace Search Engines

It’s safe to say search engines are ingrained in our everyday lives. Think about it—how often do you use Google on a daily basis? The answer is probably pretty frequent considering the 3.5 billion searches Google processes every day. Yet, consumers are still trying to find faster ways to get answers to their search queries. Now with artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT, these users are able to get personalized recommendations and answers to their questions without having to scroll through endless search results. The question isn’t whether AI will replace search engines, it’s how AI will replace search engines.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about AI and machine-learning technologies like ChatGPT. This AI chatbot is a large language model designed to interact with humans conversationally while also responding to different types of inputs like answering questions, writing blogs and creative content, and even giving personalized recommendations. 

What’s even more interesting is that you can ask ChatGPT for recipes, restaurant recommendations near you, and just about anything you might ask a typical search engine. Plus, you don’t have to read through the fluff of an article or navigate past countless ads.

According to an Aberdeen Strategy & Research survey, 16% of respondents used AI tools extensively, and 43% use them more casually. This means users, particularly those of younger generations, are beginning to embrace tools like ChatGPT and will only continue to do so. These users even predicted AI will replace search engines. In the same study, 42% of respondents said they expect to find internet-based information through AI chatbots in the future.

The evolution of search engines

Traditional search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have fundamentally changed the way we access information online. Early search engines relied heavily on keywords, with rudimentary algorithms determining the relevance of pages based on keyword density. Over time, these search engines evolved to consider factors like page ranking, backlinks, and the reputation of the website. This way the search engines could determine what websites are legitimate, and what sources are more well-researched. However, even with these advancements, search engines still struggled to understand the context of a query or to deliver personalized results. 

The role of AI in search

AI’s role in search isn’t about replacement necessarily but more about evolution and augmentation. Today’s search engines already incorporate AI and ML technologies to improve search results relevance, accuracy, and personalization. Google’s algorithm, for instance, uses RankBrain, an AI system, to better understand the intent behind users’ search queries, particularly for ambiguous or unique search phrases.

In addition, AI helps search engines understand and index video, image, and voice content, broadening the scope of search beyond text-based queries. Voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri, leverage AI to process natural language queries, exemplifying this shift.

AI has also drastically enhanced the personalization of search results. By analyzing past behaviors, click-through rates, and user interests, AI can create a unique, personalized search experience for every user. Moreover, semantic search, enabled by AI, allows search engines to understand the context and user intent behind queries, moving away from a purely keyword-based approach.

In essence, AI is fundamentally transforming search engines. The question isn’t about replacement, but rather, how much more integrated AI will become within these platforms.

As AI technologies continue to evolve, we can anticipate even more advanced features in our search engines. AI might enable highly interactive search interfaces, intuitive search experiences, or even proactive information delivery – where the AI anticipates your needs and provides relevant information before you even ask for it.

However, we still have ways to go before AI can fully transform the search engine landscape. As you might have noticed, ChatGPT doesn’t have access to real-time or current market research data, and can only provide stats up to its knowledge cutoff of September 2021. Plus, search engines and AI tools will have to consider how tools reference their sources when responding to inquiries.

Overall, we expect AI will empower search engines to evolve into smarter, more efficient, and personalized tools. As users and marketers, our role is to adapt to these changes while staying aware of the implications of AI technologies on our digital experiences. At Vibrant Brands, we are immersed in the latest in AI technology and how it affects the marketing landscape. Want to learn more about how AI can be used in your marketing? Contact us today!