The search war fueled by ChatGPT is bigger than Microsoft or Google

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Hoover says that Andy simply avoids repeating text from search results. “It doesn’t do things like other chatbots,” she says. People can decide for themselves whether that is true or not. After collecting feedback from its users for the past year, the company’s chatbot now sometimes responds when it’s unsure of an answer. “I’m not sure, but according to Wikipedia…” says Hoover.

In any case, this new age of search probably won’t do away with link lists entirely. “Five years from now, when I think about exploration, we’ll still have the ability to see the results,” Hoover said. “I think this is an important part of the web.”

But as chatbots become more persuasive, will they be less likely to scrutinize their answers? “What’s surprising is not that large language models generate false information, but how good they are at destroying people’s critical reasoning skills,” says Mike Tung, CEO of DeepBot.

Shah University of Washington shares this concern. In Microsoft’s demo for Bing Chat, the company hammered home the message that using chatbots to search can save time. But Shah pointed out that a little-known project Microsoft has been working on for years, called Search Coach, is designed to teach people to stop and think.

Billed as a “search engine with training wheels,” Search Coach helps people, especially students and teachers, learn how to write effective search queries and identify reliable sources. Instead of saving time, Search Coach encourages people to slow down. “Compare this to ChatGPT,” says Shah.

Companies like Andi, Perplexity and You.com are happy to admit that they’re still figuring out what search can be. In fact, it can be many things.

“You don’t want to fight with convenience, that’s losing in consumer technology,” says Socher. But here are some pretty basic questions about the overall state of the Internet.

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