Gmail creator Paul Buchheit says Google is only one or two years away from "total disruption" due to AI chatbots.
The engineer said advancements in AI like ChatGPT could make Google's search engine irrelevant.
In December, Google issued a "code red" warning because of the viral chatbot.
Gmail creator Paul Buchheit say AI chatbots like ChatGPT will destroy Google in the same way that the search engine killed The Yellow Pages.
"Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption," Buchheit tweeted on Wednesday. "AI will eliminate the Search Engine Result Page, which is where they make most of their money. Even if they catch up on AI, they can't fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business!"
While the Gmail creator said it might not be ChatGPT itself that disrupts Google's monopoly, advancements in technology are certain to shift the way people access information.
"The way I imagine this happening is that the URL/Search bar of the browser gets replaced with AI that autocompletes my thought/question as I type it while also providing the best answer (which may be a link to a website or product)," he said on Twitter, adding that AI will be able to "instantly do what would take many minutes for a human" to do using a search engine like Google.
—Paul Buchheit (@paultoo) December 1, 2022
ChatGPT, which has generated headlines for its ability to do anything from write an essay to provide coding advice, is an AI chatbot that can answer questions in a clear, conversational manner using data collected from millions of websites.
But it's not perfect: The site has been known to give incorrect answers at times as the chatbot has some difficulty identifying misinformation.
Buccheit, who was the 23rd employee hired at Google, according to Crunchbase, is a computer engineer who helped develop the company's first AdSense prototype, a system that serves targeted ads on sites and allows publishers to profit off pageviews.
The bulk of Google's revenue comes from selling ads, many of which appear on its search engine. In 2021, about 80% of Google's $257.64 billion in revenue came from advertisements.
The Gmail creator is far from the first to sound the alarm on ChatGPT's potential impact on Google. In December, Google issued a "code red" warning over the chatbot. Since the latest version of ChatGPT was released on November 30, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and its parent company, Alphabet, has participated in several meetings around Google's AI strategy in response to the threat the chatbot represents to the company's search engine, The New York Times reported in December.
The company also called in Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to help address the issue, the Times reported in January. At the time, The Information had reported that Microsoft planned to use ChatGPT to power its own search engine, Bing.
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