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Google VS ChatGPT: The Battle of the Digital Titans

Open AI’s ChatGPT is a controversial debate occurring at the moment, and a topic that is discussed quite a lot here at Milk & Tweed. We are all aware of the questions surrounding Artificial Intelligence – will it have everyone out of a job? Will it take over the world? The possibilities of AI are seemingly endless.

But today we want to take a look at another battle that seems to be heating up. Which is better ChatGPT or Google?

Overview of ChatGPT and Google

Most of us use Google on a daily basis and it has been the widest chosen search engine since its conception in 1998, with over 92% of all search engine searches being conducted through there, as of November 2022. But how does it have the answers to our questions? Google indexes and crawls billions of webpages that have been created on their server, and ranks them in order to provide the requested information. So they probably have every answer possible.

ChatGPT on the other hand is not a search engine. It is an AI Chatbot that was launched by Elon Musk and Sam Altman’s Artificial Intelligence company, OpenAI, in November 2022. It relies on the input of a sizable dataset of text to be able to answer queries with a natural-sounding, comprehensive response. And right now we don’t know if it has all the answers.

The big battle: Google vs ChatGPT

In order to decide the ultimate winner of the Google vs ChatGPT battle, we have undergone a number of tests, placing the two digital titans head to head across four key areas: accuracy, usability, speed and personalised experiences. But which one came up trumps?

1. Accuracy

Google: Google uses bots called spiders to crawl through different web pages, and indexes them based on their content. It then ranks these pages in relation to the search term requested. Therefore, if the information provided on the web pages is accurate, the results displayed by Google will be accurate.

Its way of consistently trailing through published web pages means that the information it provides is up to date. However, the results are displayed in an order which showcases ads first. This means that, often, the first two or three results shown will have been bidded on and paid for by companies that want their webpages to be displayed for that certain search term.

ChatGPT: ChatGPT has been trained on a diverse dataset of text, and therefore is capable of accurately answering a wide range of questions. 

However, it is only as accurate as its last dataset input. At the moment, ChatGPT is only accurate up to September 2021. This means, when asked about something that has changed since September 2021, the answer provided by ChatGPT is inaccurate.

One thing about ChatGPT though, is that it is aware of its potential inaccuracies, and lets the user know about the limits of its capabilities.

Winner: Without a doubt it’s Google here. If you’re after accurate, up to date information, then Google has to be the winner due to the gap in ChatGPT’s dataset. And who wants the wrong answer?

2. Usability

Google: It is, without question, easy to use Google to search for things. With free access for everyone 24/7, Google supplies users with a large list of potential answers to their query. These answers could come in a number of ways, including URL lists, bullet points, images and videos. You can then choose from that list which result you think will best suit your needs. These image and video results could be useful – especially when searching for things such as recipes.

However, with this endless supply of knowledge comes the necessity to scroll through pages of results, paid ads and suggested searches, so if you are after a quick fix to a problem, you could be left with more questions than answers.

ChatGPT: Similarly, ChatGPT is very easy to use. It is currently free, but OpenAI has confirmed that a pro version with extra benefits, ChatGPT Plus, will be available for $20/month. You type in your query or search term and are responded to in a timely manner, as if you were messaging a friend. The way that ChatGPT is displayed is more like a messaging app than a search engine, so you don’t have to scroll through multiple results to get an answer. However, this messaging functionality means that, currently, ChatGPT doesn’t have the capability to provide image or video results. 

As well as this, ChatGPT can ‘reach capacity’, meaning that users are unable to access the site. This is a flaw in their functionality, as it means that users may be put off and will turn to other solutions.

Winner: This is a much closer battle, but the 24/7 free access means that, for us, Google just nabs it.

3. Speed

Google: As long as your internet connection is relatively good, Google is fast. According to Think with Google, in many cases the process takes less than a tenth of a second — it’s practically instant. This is due to Google using specialised data centres, caching frequently accessed information, and optimising algorithms to prioritise the most relevant results. As well as this, Google only provides 10 results at a time, which is considerably faster to process than if it showed an endless list.

ChatGPT: Again, depending on network connection, ChatGPT is relatively fast. However, not as fast as Google. The chat-like functionality means that you can watch the response being typed out in front of you, rather than seeing the complete result.

According to ChatGPT itself, the “response time is typically in the range of a few seconds to tens of seconds, depending on the complexity of the question or task and the amount of context needed to generate an accurate response. However, in some cases, such as language translation or complex natural language processing tasks, my response time may be longer. Additionally, the speed at which I can operate depends on the computational resources available to me, including CPU, RAM, and GPU, which can affect my performance.”

Winner: Another win for Google. However, most users will be willing to wait a few seconds to find an answer to their search query.

4. Personalised Experiences

Google: Google uses its algorithms and wealth of data to offer a personalised searching experience to its users. When you search for, for example, ‘dentist near me’, Google can offer you dentists near to the area that you are searching for.

As well as this, Google can use previous search history to recommend personalised ads that can improve your experience when browsing.

ChatGPT: ChatGPT doesn’t have a personalised search ability, but its chat-bot functionality means that you feel as if you are getting a more personal experience than you would on a search engine. The natural language processing (NLP) model that it is built around provides a friendly speech-like response to queries.

Winner: This one depends on whether you like the personalised features of Google or not. Often, these features are handy and make your daily life easier, however not everyone wants to share their location and their preferences with their search engine. For us at Milk & Tweed though, Google is once again the winner.

So who wins Google or ChatGPT?

Well, based on our results, it is easily Google. However, it really does depend on how you are using them. They both have their pros and cons. So, it’s really up to you to decide which ‘digital titan’ comes up trumps. As for us here at Milk & Tweed, we won’t be stopping our Googling habit any time soon.

But, Is there anything ChatGPT can do that Google can’t?

As much as we prefer Google, there are a few things that ChatGPT can do that Google can’t, such as:

Solve a tricky equation: Ask it to solve an equation for you and it will. Just don’t let your kids use it for their maths homework

Help create content: It can help create engaging email subject lines, snippets for videos and even article ideas.

Debug code: Ask it to ‘debug this code’ then enter the code and it might just fix it for you

Explain things in different ways: Google will just give you a list of articles to read, but ChatGPT can explain things to you like you are a 5 year old or like a cowboy. Try it, it’s fun.

It is clear Google is still number one, but in a few years ChatGPT could be right on its tail.

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