Tired of Googling? OpenAI’s rumored rival could soon change how we search

A person at a laptop Googling
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The evidence is mounting that we're going to see some big changes to Google Search in 2024 – and this could include the arrival of a big new challenger from ChatGPT maker OpenAI, according to a new report.

According to The Information, OpenAI is "developing a web search product" that would bring the Microsoft-backed company into "direction competition with Google". This apparently comes from some with "knowledge of OpenAI's plans".

The bad news? This new search service is expected to "partly be powered by Bing". So far, combining Bing with ChatGPT's generative AI powers hasn't hurt Google's search dominance, but hopefully, this new search app could give us something more transformative.  

Apparently, OpenAI hasn't yet decided whether or not the new search tool will be separate from ChatGPT, or run within it. But ChatGPT's comparative lack of speed compared to Google could influence that decision, and the AI chatbot currently relies on Bing's web index to answer some questions anyway.

Whatever OpenAI decides, its new search contender will join a growing army of challengers that are aiming to take a bite out of Google's search dominance. Perplexity AI is making moves, recently becoming the internal search engine for the Rabbit R1, and it remains to be seen how OpenAI's rumored new contender might co-exist with Microsoft's Copilot and Copilot Pro.

Rise of the AI search engines?

The Rabbit R1 on a grey background showing Perplexity search

(Image credit: Rabbit / Perplexity)

Google has dropped several hints that its traditional search experience is going to change a lot in 2024, including its putting a toggle in its new Gemini Android app that lets you switch from traditional Search to its new generative AI assistant.

That said, Google's been a little slower to embrace AI in its desktop experience, hiding away those 'experimental' features in its Search Generative Experience (SGE), which you have to sign up to access.

Smaller upstarts like Perplexity and now potentially OpenAI, which don't have a giant existing search business to protect, are much happier to show us new AI-powered search experiences.

Rather than a list of results, Perplexity gives you a written answer to your questions, with a list of citations for the information it's summarized. It'll also help you drill down into topics by suggesting and answering follow-up questions.

But it's also not yet clear whether AI search engines have a route to the massive profitability of Google's traditional search experience. One contender called Neeva, which was co-founded by a former Google exec, was forced to shut down last year after finding that "building a search engine is hard".

Still, the search tides are shifting in 2024, and by next year Google could have its biggest challengers for over 25 years.

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.