But while these announcements provided a glimpse of what’s next for search, to get the full picture, we need to look beyond Microsoft and Google. While these giants will continue to dominate, for those looking for an alternative, the search will become more crowded and diverse.

That’s because, under the radar, a new wave of startups has been playing with many of the same search tools augmented by chatbots for months. You.com launched its search chatbot back in December and has been rolling out updates ever since. A number of other companies, such as Perplexity, Andi, and Metaphor, are also integrating chatbot applications with upgrades such as image search, social features that allow you to save or continue search threads started by others, and the ability to search for information just seconds ago .

ChatGPT’s success has created a flurry of activity as tech giants and startups try to figure out how to give people what they want — in ways they may not have known existed.

Old guard, new ideas

Google has dominated the search market for years. “It’s been pretty steady for a long time,” says Chirag Shah, who studies search technology at the University of Washington. “Despite a lot of innovation, the needle hasn’t moved much.”

That all changed with the launch of ChatGPT in November. Suddenly, the idea of ​​searching for things by typing in a string of disconnected words felt old-fashioned. Why couldn’t you just ask for what you wanted?

People are excited about this idea of ​​combining chatbots and search, says Ed Liberty, who used to run Amazon’s artificial intelligence lab and is now CEO of Pinecone, a company that builds databases for search engines: “It’s the right combination. It’s peanut butter and jelly.’

Google has been exploring the idea of ​​using large language models (the technology behind chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard) for some time. But when ChatGPT became a major hit, Google and Microsoft made their moves.

So did others. Now there are several small companies that compete with large players, says Svaboda. “Just five years ago, that would have been silly,” he says. “Who in their right mind would try to storm this castle?”

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