It’s Microsoft vs. Google as AI Wars Heat Up

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In the 1970’s we saw the cola wars. In the 80’s it was the burger wars. Today we’re watching the AI wars heat up between none other than tech giants Microsoft and Google themselves, over the explosive progress and massive potential of AI.

The stakes are for search engine dominance and the players are AI chatbots, with ChatGPT in Microsoft’s corner, and Google’s yet-to-be-released upcoming chatbot known as Bard in the other.

It’s a PR battle as well, as both teams are aware. In a press conference today, Microsoft is expected to announce plans to bring ChatGPT to its Bing search engine capabilities. Not to be outdone, rival Google hurried to preempt Microsoft by hastily announcing yesterday the arrival of Bard, its own answer to search engine AI, and promising more details in the near future.

The implementation of AI chatbots is predicted to usher in a revolutionary change in the way search engine results are cultivated and presented, with more humanlike answers to choose from rather than links to click and read. Its use could potentially save hours on research, spreadsheets, coding, and more.

It’s not the first time the tech giants have taken aim at each other. Ten years ago during the “Scroogled” era, Microsoft went on a public anti-Google campaign similar to a heated political rivalry, even as Google did everything to prevent Microsoft from succeeding in the mobile arena. Microsoft similarly took steps to thwart Google’s Chrome success. The rivals forged a truce of sorts in 2015 to avoid long and costly legal battles, which expired in April of 2021.

Microsoft could have a leg up if the functionality of the yet unreleased ChatGPT version 4 turns out to have the Bing functionality rumors say it does. In the meantime, Google invested $300 million into the AI firm, Anthropic, which was founded by researchers formerly of OpenAI (creators of ChatGPT). The company researches AI language models and has created their own chatbot version known as Claude.

Microsoft is hard at work promising to integrate OpenAI into its apps and services, in a move that “is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows, quite literally,” according to Panos Panay, head of Windows and hardware for Microsoft.

Whether “to Bard” will become a household verb in the future as “to Google” something did, remains to be seen. Who will win the race to dominate internet searches, and whose technology will prove most effective? To be sure, times are changing and the results will be interesting. Read more here.

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