We were wondering if ChatGPT would revolutionize the world of search engines, but it seems that things will not change as much as we might have thought. Especially since Microsoft has announced that it is experimenting with the introduction of banner ads on its Bing service with ChatGPT.
There were already ads on Bing with ChatGPT. When Microsoft launched Bing with ChatGPT two months ago, it did so with two important new features regarding ChatGPT that we knew about. The first, that it was updated in real time and was able to search the internet. The second, which included sources on which he based his information. Some of these sources could be considered as advertising and Microsoft recognized this from the beginning -in fact, it soon entered into conversations with advertisers-, but things are getting worse.
More links to the content provider. In a post published yesterday, Microsoft explained how they want to “bring more traffic and value to content providers from the new Bing.” To do this there will be links in the chats with Bing where hovering will show more links and information so that Bing can drive more traffic to the content provider’s website.
And ads with profit sharing. There is also talk of the Microsoft Start program, which will allow “rich content screenshots” to be included next to the response, which will cause Microsoft to “share ad revenue with the partner.” They are also thinking about “placed ads in the chat experience to share ad revenue with partners whose content contributed to the chat response.”
Bing Chat now has Ads!
It’s going to be fascinating to see how the unit economics of Ads in language models will unfold and affect search advertising.
— Deedy (@debarghya_das) March 29, 2023
How will this affect Bing with ChatGPT? Microsoft’s decision seems logical: running this platform consumes resources and (a lot) of money, so trying to monetize it is reasonable. One option is to do it as OpenAI has done with GPT-4: either you pay the subscription to ChatGPT Plus, or nothing.
The other, of course, is advertising, as search engines have always done. The question here is whether Bing’s responses will end up being conditioned by advertisers. Will advertiser links be promoted and highlighted even though the most relevant information comes from another source? At the moment, impossible to know.
Will we trust the AI less? As TechCrunch points out, this type of model poses a clear threat to chatbots like Bing. If they are going to start getting filled with advertising—one that adblockers won’t be able to stop at the moment—it will be necessary to see if Microsoft and its competitors label those links appropriately.
Even doing so, the fact that sponsored links begin to appear in the chatbot’s responses can condition our trust in those responses. If there is a commercial interest behind it, the neutrality and objectivity of the AI —at least, the one that it tries to achieve by treating it with diverse sources— partially or totally disappears.
In Xataka | Open war for the search engine of the future: why Google and Microsoft have become obsessed with ChatGPT
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