Search Entered a New Age Thanks to ChatGPT. Microsoft might destroy it.
Startups claim that Microsoft, not just Google, and its Bing chatbot are suppressing competition in the development of better search engines.
By oculus network
Google is frequently responsible for the lack of competition in online search. Even now, the US government is suing the corporation to stop it from engaging in monopolistic practises like setting itself as the default search engine in popular apps like Android, Chrome, and Safari.
Yet, several new search engines attempting to attract consumers with privacy features or ad-free searches claim Google isn’t their latest rival. Instead, they are irritated by Microsoft and its Bing search engine.
Even before small businesses could readily afford it, search firms relied on licencing Bing’s search results while also including their own features and query parsing techniques. But, the launch of a Bing search chatbot by Microsoft, based on the technology underpinning OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has raised worries that the company is unfairly excluding users of its search data as it launches a new offensive against Google for market dominance.
Microsoft announced that its regular prices for search data would increase by as much as 10 times starting in May, a week after the launch of Bing chat in February. A new regulation that the business implemented with immediate effect basically bars startups from competing with Bing Chat or Google’s competitor chatbot Bard, according to the startups.
By following this regulation, any client that offers Bing results to customers on a page that also contains content from large language models (LLMs), the technology used by ChatGPT and Bing’s conversation, will be charged substantially higher fees—possibly 28 times Microsoft’s prior charges. A startup would pay up to $200 per 1,000 Bing queries if it created its own LLM-powered search chatbot, as opposed to as little as $7 previously, or $25 under the revised pricing that goes into force in May.
The bounty they would have to pay Bing, according to search entrepreneurs that use Microsoft data and planned to offer their own chat-style capabilities, would bankrupt them. Customers of APIs are not currently able to use Microsoft’s search chatbot.
Some seasoned users of search claim that Microsoft’s pricing increases just go along with the company’s history of limiting its search options for third-party developers. D. Sivakumar, a research scientist who worked on search for 16 years at Google and Yahoo before founding the ecommerce search startup Tonita in 2021, said, “Bing squandered an opportunity to create a great ecosystem of search services, which I believe strongly would have ultimately benefited Bing in many ways.”
The pricing increases, according to Microsoft spokesperson Caitlin Roulston, reflect significant efforts in enhancing Bing in ways that also benefit businesses that rely on its results. According to Roulston, the most recent boost to search quality in the last 20 years has been the use of LLMs to assist rank results. To explore new options, “we are in preliminary negotiations with partners, and we look forward to continuing to create a healthy online ecosystem,” the spokesperson said.
Data Analysis of searches
According to analytics provider StatCounter, Bing only handles less than 3% of all queries globally, far behind Google, which captures 93%. On desktop PCs, however, where Windows is the most popular operating system and Microsoft favours its own search engine, Bing’s market share is over 8%.
A significant amount of Microsoft’s $18 billion in annual advertising revenue comes from search adverts on Bing search results. According to Microsoft finance leader Philippe Ockenden, during the company’s chatbot launch last month, every 1 percentage point rise in market share could result in $2 billion more in new ad sales. Microsoft doesn’t breck sales of Bing API.
For the first time in years, excitement about rivalry between Bing, Google, and everyone else has been sparked by the chatbot race. According to Socher of You.com, users had previously shied away from unfamiliar features. Many would say, “I’m just so used to Googling,'” she said. I don’t want it to differ too much,” he declares. Users today appear more receptive to novelties. It’s simply a fresh, different universe, he claims.
Microsoft might have more success with its chatbot if it made it available for other businesses to licence on reasonable terms. Winning wider usage and driving more customers away from Google, according to Sivakumar, who is developing the shopping search service Tonita. The way Microsoft manages its current APIs does not inspire confidence. He made the decision not to use the Bing APIs since the company’s long-standing terms of service prohibit users from altering, storing, or processing search results. Which restricts the data’s possible uses.
Companies are finding it simpler to picture life without Bing thanks to the same technology that is powering Microsoft’s search renaissance. CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy claims user bug reports about incorrectly interpreted queries, out-of-date results, and other quality issues persuaded him to change course in late 2019. He had built search startup Neeva on Bing’s API.
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Neeva still uses Bing for image and video searches, but it used the $80 million in funding to build its own system. Despite having little user data to study, the firm benefited from hiring top ex-Google employees, cheaper server memory, and the introduction of LLMs. Which made it simpler for software to understand misspellings and synonyms. The effort, according to Ramaswamy, “more than paid for itself,”. Enabling the startup’s quick-answer tool NeevaAI to go live in January.