Doom: An Interesting Prediction from a Xoogler

January 31, 2023

I spotted an interesting prediction about Google or what I call Googzilla. The comment appeared in “Gmail Creator Says ChatGPT Will Destroy Google’s Business in Two Years.”

Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption. 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!

The alleged Xoogler posting the provocative comment was Paul Buchheit. (Once I heard that it was he who turned the phrase, “Don’t be evil.) Mr. Buchheit is attributed with “inventing” Gmail.

The article stated:

The company has built its business largely around its most successful product; the search engine could soon face a crisis… 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.

Let’s think about ways Google could recover this predicted loss. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Stop paying vendors like Apple to feature Google search results. (A billion here and a billion there could add up.)
  2. Create new services and charge users for them. (I know Google tried to cook up a way to sell Loon balloons and a nifty early stab at the metaverse, but maybe the company will find a way to innovate without me toos.)
  3. Raise prices for consumer services. (That might cause a problem because companies with diversified revenue may lower the already low, low prices for video chat, online word processing, and email. One trick ponies by definition may have difficulty learning another trick or three.)

Will ChatGPT kill the Google? My thought is that even Xooglers feel that the Googzilla is getting arthritic and showing off its middle age spread. Nevertheless, Google’s Sundar and Raghavan management act will have to demonstrate some Fancy Dancing. The ChatGPT may output content that seems okay but tucks errors in its nouns and verbs. But there is the historical precedent of the Sony Betamax to keep in mind. ChatGPT may be flawed but people bought Pintos, and some of these could explode when rear ended. Ouch!

Why are former Google employees pointing out issues? That’s interesting apart from ChatGPT Code Red silliness.

Stephen E Arnold, January 31, 2023


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