In a high-stakes bid to challenge Google’s dominance, Microsoft integrated the much-hyped artificial intelligence tool, ChatGPT, into its search engine Bing. However, a recent report by Bloomberg News indicates that this $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the brains behind ChatGPT, has done little to close the chasm between Bing and Google.
As per data from StatCounter, a leading analytics firm, Bing’s global search market share was a mere 3.4% at the end of 2023, dwarfed by Google’s staggering 91.6%. This represents a marginal increase of less than one percentage point from when Microsoft announced the integration of ChatGPT in early 2023.
The Bloomberg report suggests that the AI tool’s addition may have merely halted Bing’s decline rather than fueling a resurgence. Prior to the integration, Bing’s user engagement had dipped by 33% compared to the previous year, according to SensorTower data.
However, Bing did witness some positive trends in 2023. The platform’s active monthly users in the U.S. doubled to 3.1 million during the second quarter, with user engagement time surging by 84%. By the year’s end, Bing’s active user base had grown to 4.4 million.
Despite these developments, Microsoft has not commented on the report. Meanwhile, other contenders like Perplexity are leveraging AI, aiming to dethrone Google from its top spot in the search market. Earlier this month, Perplexity announced a successful Series B funding round, which valued the company at an impressive $520 million.
Economist and Harvard Business School professor Shane Greenstein told Bloomberg, “We are experiencing a ‘gold rush’ moment in AI and search. However, I doubt AI will significantly shift the balance because in search, you need a ‘flywheel’: the more searches you have, the better answers are. Google is the only firm who has this dynamic well-established.”
Google’s dominance is also bolstered by the cost-prohibitive nature of running AI systems. Some estimates suggest that a single ChatGPT query costs 1,000 times more than a typical Google search, making the economic viability of AI applications questionable in comparison to other software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.