As much of an impact as ChatGPT has had since its launch in November, a prominent computer engineer believes we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.

Shortly after OpenAI’s Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (ChatGPT) debuted, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit predicted on Twitter ChatGPT could be “a year or two away” from putting Google out of business.

Buchheit wrote: “AI will eliminate the Search Engine Result Page, which is where they make most of their money.


“Even if they catch up on AI, they can’t fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business!”

He then went on to offer a detailed account of how Google’s downfall could play out:

“The way I imagine this happening is that the URL/Search bar of the browser gets replaced with AI that autocompletes my thought/question as I type it while also providing the best answer (which may be a link to a website or product).

“The AI will use the old search engine backend to gather relevant information and links, which will then be summarized for the user. It’s like asking a professional human researcher to do the work, except the AI will instantly do what would take many minutes for a human.”

Alex Paterson, WhatJobs CEO

Alex Paterson, global CEO of WhatJobs?
Alex Paterson, global CEO of WhatJobs?

The internet has been predicting Google’s demise ever since ChatGPT arrived, but Buchheit’s point is well made.

Advertising generates most of Google’s revenue.

You see ads when you search on Google, and Google makes money.

But why would anyone ever Google again if the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) becomes irrelevant because an AI can precisely answer your question without displaying a page full of links (and ads)?

As such, even if Google launches its very own ChatGPT alternative shortly, it would be pushing people away from its most important source of revenue.

It’s hard to imagine that SERPs will become obsolete any time soon. How often do you search for reviews of a new movie, show, or game and click on multiple links to see a variety of opinions?

Or scroll through product listings to find the option that best suits your needs? That said, most of us rarely click past the first page of search results as it is.

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