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Did the search queen fall asleep on guard? - Walla! technology


Is Google facing a similar fate with the AI ​​revolution that is completely changing web search and the world of technology? Commentary by Niv Lilian

Google (Photo: Reuters)

In the early 2000s, Microsoft was in the best position to lead the mobile computing (smartphone) revolution.

Its operating system was everywhere, it had just emerged from a browser monopoly with the upper hand overall, and its browser had an unprecedented market share of over 90% of the market.

Seemingly, there was no technology company that was better positioned to dominate the next revolution as well: the mobile computing revolution.

But it didn't happen.

A problematic corporate culture of a large and clumsy organization, suffocation of creativity and a series of puzzling decisions brought Microsoft to a disadvantageous position in the years that followed when its competitors, Google and Apple, quickly took over the new market created by smartphones - first the iPhone, and then all Android-based smartphones from Google.

At the same time, Google came out with its own browser called Chrome, and the rest is history.

Microsoft insisted on sticking to its mobile operating system Windows Phone which was not well adapted to the touch interface, and in fact fell asleep on the watch as it missed the tectonic change in the world of technology.

Is something similar happening now to Google?

Is the search queen the one who fell asleep now on guard?

Google: Is the queen of search the one who has now fallen asleep on guard? (Photo: ShutterStock)

This week, Google's stock lost 55 billion(!) dollars of its value.

The reason: It has been reported that Samsung is considering replacing the default web search engine on its smartphones from Google - to Microsoft's competitor Bing.

Not only is this a potential loss of three billion dollars in revenue, it is hundreds of millions of devices that will not have the colorful Google logo appear on them every time you search for something online.

Google will be hit hard.

And what's more: next year its contract with Apple as the default web search engine on iPhones and the Safari browser, which is worth 20 billion dollars - is also a candidate for renewal.

In terms of revenue value, this is a terrible blow to Google.

You have to remember: Google's main source of income is the advertisements based on the search terms.

The advertisements that Google shows you above the "organic" search results (which, too, are already contaminated with a lot of Google's own content instead of simply a list of websites as it was once pushed down), generate over a hundred billion dollars a year - in 2022, they generated Google's coffers 162 billion dollars.

The loss of screens on which her search engine is displayed means a serious loss of income.

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The next revolution

Microsoft, since those bleak days at the beginning of the millennium, replaced the old management with a younger and energetic manager named Satya Nadella, who also demanded (and accepted) the departure of the founding generation, Gates and Ballmer from the day-to-day management of Microsoft.

Nadella made a lot of changes at Microsoft: turned Microsoft's closed garden approach on its head, happily embraced the open source world, and returned its crown to its former glory: refocused Microsoft on being, first and foremost, a software company (and yes, Xbox and games too, but software first).

His steps brought back to Microsoft, which was already considered dead, the color to the cheeks, the market value and most importantly - brought it back into the game as a relevant, proactive and influential company.

Alongside acquisitions such as the popular software development platform GitHub, Microsoft invested in a small company called OpenAI in 2019 with an initial investment of $1 billion.

And OpenAI turned out to be a hen that laid Microsoft a golden egg called ChatGPT - which is generative artificial intelligence and the next revolution in the world of computing in general (don't know what ChatGPT is? Read my article that explains).

OpenAI turned out to be a hen that laid a golden egg for Microsoft called ChatGPT (Photo: Reuters)

, which is artificial intelligence in a textual engine based on a natural conversational dialogue with the user, not only locates relevant information for him, but can actually create things based on the knowledge bases on the web, from blog posts to code snippets and entire websites.

This is de facto, a revolution.

And where is Google?


Microsoft, on the other hand, did not sleep: it quickly took the ChatGPT engine and integrated it into all its products: from the suite of office software that was once known as Office, through its Edge browser and also in the place where it enjoys an advantage - the search box in the Windows 11 operating system, and most importantly : in its search engine, Bing.

The smart capabilities of ChatGPT turned Bing almost overnight, from another unexciting search engine, into a game-breaking weapon: artificial intelligence allows Bing to provide search results and relevant and personalized information, all in a natural language that everyone understands - something that is now very much absent from Google's traditional search engine, which still forces us to search in a binary form of terms, and not ask questions in human language.

Suddenly Bing, which was the object of jokes, became a significant threat to Google.

Suddenly, Microsoft is the light-footed doe that was quick to identify and pounce on the next technological revolution, and Google is the heavy, outdated company that lacks the appropriate technological response - and in a field that is its core business.

Twenty years later, the fortunes turned.

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Google is in a panic

In a report by the New York Times this week, the atmosphere in Google's offices was described in one word: panic.

The undisputed queen of online search fell asleep on guard, and suddenly discovers that there is a claimant to the crown that could steal hundreds of millions of screens from her and possibly even lose her first place in the market.

For the first time in years, there is a significant threat to Google's traditional web search engine with which it entered the market in 1998, and the company, in fact, has no answer.

Like Microsoft at the time, Google is standing on the brink of a technological revolution which it is not leading, but trailing behind another company, which innovates better and faster than it.

So it's true, the corporate culture at Google is not yet so fossilized, and it contains "vaccines" against fossilization like the 80/20 projects accepted in the company, and yet, Google currently does not have an artificial intelligence-based search engine in massive distribution to users - and Microsoft does.

Google's new search engine (Google)

At Google, dozens of engineers, designers and managers are now working around the clock on a project known as Magi, to give its answer to Bing enriched with artificial intelligence.

Google does have its own ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence tool called Bard, but it is still in a broad experimental phase, and not yet ready for mass distribution, and certainly not a search engine based entirely on artificial intelligence.

According to reports, Google will come out with its own answer within weeks - so it hasn't completely missed the train yet, but it is currently at a disadvantage compared to Bing with GPT gaining momentum and search volume, Google's bread and butter, which has already become synonymous with web search.

In the coming months we are expected to see a huge battle between Google and Microsoft for the crown of control over our searches on the Internet, and for who will serve us information from the Internet, and another arena, no less important - is artificial intelligence tools for businesses, which is considered the next big market - and there Amazon also joins the celebration with the help of Israeli company.

What is certain, our search on the net and in fact all of our digital lives, are going to change from end to end in the coming years as part of the artificial intelligence revolution.

Hold on tight to the keyboards, because there are going to be jumps.

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Source: walla

All tech articles on 2023-04-21

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