Gmail creator says ChatGPT-like AI will destroy Google's business in two years

Will it? Only time will tell.
Ameya Paleja
Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley.
Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley.


The popularity of ChatGPT, the online chatbot built by OpenAI, has brought many to question the survival of search engines such as Google. Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, has also dropped his opinion on the matter, and he thinks that Google's business will last a maximum of two years, he tweeted.

Launched in November last year, ChatGPT has become the favorite destination to ask questions among millions of users. Instead of delivering a response to a search result that runs into tens of pages, ChatGPT answers the questions in a conversational style, making it easier for the user to ask follow-up questions, too.

Many have wondered if this could draw the curtains on Google's main product, the search engine, much like how Google closed shop for Yellow Pages years ago. Interesting Engineering had previously reported that the instant success of ChatGPT sent Google top executives into a huddle, and the company is now focusing on its artificial intelligence (A.I.) products.

Is the end near for Google?

The company has built its business largely around its most successful product; the search engine could soon face a crisis. As Paul Buchheit elaborated in his tweet, technology like A.I. can eliminate the need for search engine result pages, which is where Google makes most of its money.

Google charges advertisers a fee for displaying their products and services right next to the search results, increasing the likelihood of the provider being found. In 2021, the company raked in over $250 billion in revenue, its best-ever income in its nearly 25-year-old existence.

However, with ChatGPT's introduction, Google could quickly be pushed into irrelevancy as users throng for more simplistic answers than indexed pages. Even if Google were able to push A.I. products developed in-house into the market almost immediately, Buchheit does not see a way; it could do so without destroying the most valuable part of its business.

What does ChatGPT think?

With ChatGPT making rapid strides in displaying its broad appeal from writing poetry to code and even passing MBA exams at the Wharton School of Business, it has received further financial support from Microsoft as it looks to incorporate the chatbot's abilities into its own search engine and pip Google from the top spot.

While Microsoft would probably be happy to see Google on a downward trajectory after years of search dominance, ChatGPT itself does not think its existence will impact Google's search business.

When we asked the chatbot, it replied:

Gmail creator says ChatGPT-like AI will destroy Google's business in two years
ChatGPT's response to our query.

However, it must be noted that ChatGPT's responses are also based on training data, and it could be possible that the engineers trained the chatbot to handle such queries without sounding too narcissistic and confident.

Whether OpenAI is playing down its capabilities or whether Google will survive and coexist with ChatGPT and other A.I. will unfold just a couple of years from now.

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