ChatGPT, this very techie-sounding word, came to my attention only a few weeks ago. I did not make much of this initially until all of my social media feeds started getting flooded by thoughts/articles/videos, and every type of content possible on how wonderful this was. I believe it took only five days for ChatGPT to have a million users.
To feed my curiosity, I tried to sign up and see the wonder for myself. Well, it was running at capacity at the time, so it took another couple of days before I got access. So what came next was.. hmm..Interesting.
The use of the tool and the clarity of results left me pleasantly surprised. It is but natural that a Chat/language-based search tool is compared to the Czar of search, Google, and that is what I did. I tried comparing these two on some basic terms and then on slightly advanced terms. For example, I am interested in Engineering Psychology and our business; Color Parlour works in packaging design. So I thought, let me find out what it says about this topic. Lo and behold, ChatGPT came back with quite a decent definition of Engineering Psychology, including its alternate name around human factors; it was fantastic. In comparison, the exact search on Google helped me arrive at similar information but was packaged in different sources that Google introduced me to.
Thinking about this, a simple comparison came to my mind of a Shopper vs a Cook. I had a need, and what Google did was shopped around the net for me and presented me with some good options to consume the content that I felt met my requirements. I sampled a few of them and then took a consumption call. In comparison, ChatGPT tried to satisfy my need by cooking up a solution itself. It looked around for the right ingredients, mixed them up using its own recipe, and provided me with a complete dish of content to consume. It was not as if I wanted Pizza, and it gave me Pasta; it was a Pizza alright.
A vital role that search engines play is understanding Intent. Google and other established search engines assist individuals and businesses in understanding and acting on Intent. As a recap, in the online world, there are broadly four types of Intent:
- Information: Search focused on finding information
- Navigation: Search concentrated on getting to a destination, e.g: getting to Linkedin
- Transaction: Search for Goods and Services to buy.
- Commercial Investigation: Pre-search to transactions to investigate purchase options.
Although ChatGPT has had a strong start in the area of Intent focused on information consumption, it will be very interesting to see how the other areas and beyond are supported in times to come.
Whether we need a Shopper or a Cook will, of course depend on individual needs. However, will look forward to continuing interesting developments in the space.
Ankur Shiv Bhandari