Google modernizes and fights not to lose ground as a search engine against TikTok and ChatGPT

At 26 years old, the Google search engine is fighting to avoid becoming a dinosaur and uses the same tools with which it is threatened, chatbots with artificial intelligence (AI) and the short formats of social networks, to try to make its search engine search does not lose validity and audience.

Although in many languages ​​searching for information on Google has already become a verb – ‘google’, in Spanish – much younger platforms such as ChatGPT or TikTok are increasingly overshadowing the technological giant.

Search networks

Two in five Americans use TikTok as a search engine and nearly one in ten Gen Zers born (between 1997 and 2006) are more likely to trust TikTok than Google, according to an Adobe survey.

Google acknowledged that ‘it has seen the wolf’s ears’. “About 40% of young people, when looking for a place to have lunch, do not open Google Maps or go to the Google search engine. They go to TikTok or Instagram,” Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president at Google, said during a technology conference last July.

Generation Z turns to Google 25% less than Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) when searching, according to a survey by Forbes and OnePoll.

The TikTok application on a mobile phone, in a file image. EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

Social networks have an algorithm tailored to the user, they offer information told in the first person and in the comments section users can debate the information.

“What we have seen with our youngest users is that they often value lived experiences and the human perspective (…) That is why we have been investing in searches with features, such as discussion forums or shorter video content,” he told EFE. Elizabeth Reid, vice president and head of search at Google.

Since 2019, Google has offered TikTok videos as search results and in 2020 it launched its version of TikTok, YouTube Shorts, a platform that allows users to share vertical videos less than a minute long, and began to include these in its search results. .

AI, a double-edged sword

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) represents the perfect excuse for Google to modernize, but at the same time the possibility that users skip the step of putting their questions in a search engine and ask them directly to a chatbot.

This month, both Google and OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, presented an AI assistant with human qualities that allow it to see, hear, reason and help the user; Amazon followed them with its new version of Alexa.

Google announced this month that it will “soon” integrate the ability to ask questions in its search engine with videos to get help from AI, thanks to a new Gemini model (the technology giant’s AI) customized for Google search.

File photograph of the Google logo in the United States. EFE/ John G. Mabanglo

“We really think of video as an important input and output that we find in Google,” Reid explains.
Another change to the search engine, currently only for US users, is ‘AI Overviews’, whose Spanish translation would be AI summaries, which gives users a general summary of a topic.

At the moment, according to Reid, the company is not considering including advertising links in the AI ​​responses.

Maintain trust

In its more than two decades, Google has managed to gain the trust of users – who search for everything from medical topics to information about an athlete or more complex questions such as: How to be happy? or How to be a millionaire? -, as well as becoming synonymous with the answer.

However, one of the biggest dangers of AI is hallucinations, well-structured but completely incorrect responses.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said, in an impromptu press conference at the annual Google I/O developer conference, that hallucinations are a “big problem” but that they are “decreasing.”

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