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Sam Altman Quashes ChatGPT Search Engine Rumors but Here’s How AI Could Change Internet Search

Sam Altman Quashes ChatGPT Search Engine Rumors but Here’s How AI Could Change Internet Search
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Before unveiling the advanced ChatGPT-4o, OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman took to X to quash rumors that had been circulating about their new product. While ChatGPT-4o soaks up press attention, there’s a different conversation brewing in tech communitieswhat will online search look like once the AI revolution is complete?

not gpt-5, not a search engine, but we’ve been hard at work on some new stuff we think people will love! feels like magic to me.

 ChatGPT & Search Functions

ChatGPT turned a lot of heads in 2023, showing the world that chatbots can be a lot smarter than they had been in the past. Since then, OpenAI has doubled down on generative AI programs that continue to astound. These LLMs pull information from the internet, like a search.

Using an AI assistant, information can be displayed to users without the need to click through Google pages. This runs contrary to how search engines work today, and some blogs rely on click traffic for their pages. Not every online business will be affected. For example, interactive entertainment like iGaming still requires users to be on-site to access it. If a user wants to take a spin on the Paddy Power Wonder Wheel, they’d need to go to the dedicated page where that game is stored. However, informational blogs and news media sometimes monetize clicks or gauge audience interest by using them as a valuable search metric. If a tool like ChatGPT became the way to conduct online searches, click traffic could be significantly reduced.

Sam Altman Quashes Rumors

The conversation surrounding generative AI’s search capabilities has been brewing ever since, taking a backseat to its more impressive abilities. As OpenAI prepared to make a big announcement on May 13th, speculation went into overdrive – would OpenAI enter the search engine market?

Ahead of the showcase, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman took to X to formally put two rumors to bed. He said that GPT-5 isn’t coming yet, and it’s not a search engine. Now that the event has come and gone, we know it was the advanced ChatGPT-4o instead, which represented yet another huge leap in AI’s capabilities. However, for the time being, OpenAI is staying in its lane by refining its pre-existing generative AI products.

How Could AI Change Search Engines?

While the rumours were incorrect this spring, some think it’s an inevitability that OpenAI will try to enter the search engine market. The company’s tools already trawl the internet, and main competitors like Google Gemini have married AI assistance with their pre-existing search engines. OpenAI could do the same in reversebuild a tailor-made search engine that works within ChatGPT.

Generative AI streamlines the average person’s search experience, cutting down on time spent clicking through multiple pages. Of course, AI’s usefulness here is threatened by hallucinations and the potential for model collapse over time, as The Register explains here.

If AI becomes predominant for search functions, it’s much more likely that a new framework will emerge to benefit service providers and allow companies to monetize exposure. For example, redefining clicks and traffic is an option so that a “click” happens when ChatGPT reads, remembers, and unspools a blog page.

It remains to be seen whether OpenAI has designs for the search market, but businesses online shouldn’t worry. Pre-existing search engines have shown that they can exist side by side without causing drastic changes to one another.