STOCKHOLM LONDON Alphabet said on Wednesday that it will improve search results with generative AI features, in its latest salvo against Microsoft, which laid out plans a day earlier to improve its rival search engine, Bing.
Microsoft hopes that new features can revive its Bing platform and take a shot at Google's dominance of the online search business, which drives a lucrative ads business that earned $100 billion in sales last year.
Adding generative AI to search results will allow users to interact with information in entirely new ways, as well as create text or visual responses to prompts.
Google's senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said at an event in Paris that the only limit to search will be your imagination as we continue to bring generative AI technologies into our products.
It was Google's second announcement this week. On Monday it unveiled its chatbot service Bard, but the launch had hiccups due to Google's online ad showing BARD delivering inaccurate answers.
Analysts say Google will be hoping that it can prevent users switching to rival Bing.
San Francisco-based OpenAI, supported by Microsoft, opened up its ChatGPT chatbot for free public testing in November. It surged in popularity within a few days and Microsoft plans to use the technology to power its Bing search engine.
Alphabet's Ad business is the biggest earner, accounting for about 80 per cent of the company's annual revenue.
Microsoft said every percentage point of market share it gains will bring in another $2 billion in search advertising revenue.
The European Union is gearing up to regulate AI through its AI Act as the use of artificial intelligence picks up.
Google has also made improvements to Maps, Indoor Views, Image Search and Translation - all using artificial intelligence in some form.
Raghavan said AI is making it much more natural to explore and make sense of the real world.