Will ChatGPT replace search engine Google? [6x why not]
So much has already been written about ChatGPT. Many people are trying the tool, asking questions, seeking inspiration and having code written by this openAI tool. I have to admit, it’s a cool tool that can tell you a lot! In fact, it can give you so much information that there are rumors of Google being replaced by ChatGPT. Would it?
What is ChatGPT?
Before we can discuss whether ChatGPT will replace Google, it is good to take a moment to consider the basics: what is ChatGPT anyway?
It is an innovative text-generating program that uses AI technology to provide answers to prompts (questions) that a user asks. It is a kind of chatbot that provides real-time answers to your questions.
Because ChatGPT provides extensive and direct answers to many different questions from users, people suspect that ChatGPT could be a replacement for search engines such as Google.
Why ChatGPT is not a replacement for Google
I have tested the tool many times and read many experiences of others. I come to the conclusion that there are several reasons why ChatGPT is not a replacement for Google.
1. ChatGPT is a text generator
ChatGPT is now mainly a text generator that provides answers from AI technology. The tool does not have access to the internet and cannot access various resources that are online. A search engine does have access to this. Google is constantly indexing websites and resources, which means that new knowledge is constantly becoming available, also for the user who searches via the search engine. ChatGPT, on the other hand, mainly learns from the AI technology and the questions the tool answers.
2. This tool only gives one answer
By continuously indexing new websites, Google can always offer new information. This means that there may also be several answers and alternatives to your question (search query). ChatGPT actually only comes with one direct answer and does not deviate from it. If you’re looking for information on a complex subject, it’s good to approach different answers, opinions, and perspectives before jumping to your own conclusion. With ChatGPT this is not possible. I believe that the user will eventually want more information than just that one point of view of ChatGPT.
3. ChatGPT does what you ask
It is good to realize that ChatGPT is only a tool that answers exactly what you ask. It won’t go over all the pros, cons and context again. The answer can therefore be very one-sided and strongly depends on your question. If you are doing research about something or want to compare several options, a search engine such as Google is much more suitable and reliable.
4. Specific niche questions are difficult to answer
We all know by now that Google has an infinite amount of information. Even about the smallest things, for example that one tiny village in a remote corner of the Netherlands. If you have very specific “niche” questions for ChatGPT, the tool often cannot answer them.
I jokingly asked ChatGPT to tell me a little about myself. Then I got the confirmation from the tool itself: it is only a text generator and cannot access external data sources to retrieve information about me. If I looked myself up on Google, the search engine would have a lot more information.
5. ChatGPT provides generic and general information
Since ChatGPT does not have access to external databases, the information remains quite generic. For example, I had the tool write an article about the best restaurants in Rotterdam. Of course the tool comes with a nice answer, but if you look closely at the content, the information is quite general. I could replace the name White Monkey with any other random bar. Moreover, in this specific example, restaurant Bazaar is mentioned 2 times.
I also happen to know that there are much nicer (and better) restaurants in Rotterdam. In addition, I can think of a much better description of the White Monkey. With search engines you can find much more information that is not so general and generic.
I hear around me that companies find ChatGPT a nice tool to write more articles and provide information on their website about the products they sell. They do this as part of the SEO strategy , hoping to rank better on a number of keywords and/or topics. But with such a general and generic article you don’t make the difference online. Google appreciates user-generated content that really teaches the reader something about the subject. Standard, generic and general texts will therefore not suffice.
6. The tool cannot access external resources
I’ve already mentioned it a few times in the reasons above, but I think this is an important point, so I’ll mention it as a separate reason. Please note that ChatGPT does not have access to external data sources. If ChatGPT returns an answer, it does not return a source. So there is no way to verify if the information is really true. I would then have to check the answer again via Google. That seems like double work…
ChatGPT is not a replacement for Google
I hope I was able to make it clear that it is not (yet) a full replacement for Google. We still need Google for information, especially for specific questions and if we want to know different points of view. ChatGPT is also not designed as a search engine. I even asked ChatGPT, “Are you a replacement for Google?”
Interesting! Even the tool says it’s definitely not meant to replace search engines. It is intended to help generate responses in a conversational environment.
What can you use ChatGPT for?
OK, so it’s clear by now that it’s not a search engine and it wasn’t designed for it. What can you use ChatGPT for? For a lot of things! I could write a separate article about that. But to mention some functions, I share the list below:
- Write a nice story, such as an article about the best restaurants in Rotterdam.
- Make a piece of work.
- Coding and writing code.
- Share inspiration for topics you can write a next article about.
- Writing marketing materials.
- Writing standard emails.
- Generate new ideas by, for example, requesting lists of ‘top 10’ things.
What do you use ChatGPT for? Reply in the comments below.