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ChatGPT vs. Google: New study asks which is smarter

Published Feb 11th, 2023 6:20PM EST
Google Search home page.
Image: Google

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As soon as ChatGPT launched last fall, the internet started asking questions about whether or not OpenAI’s chatbot would be the downfall of Google. The creator of Gmail even predicted ChatGPT was just a year or two away from putting Google out of business once and for all. But as exciting as this technology might be, is ChatGPT actually smarter than Google?

A research team assembled by the e-learning company Preply analyzed the performance of both ChatGPT and Google Search in order to answer that question.

Is ChatGPT smarter than Google?

In order to determine which tool was smarter, the team posed the same 40 curated questions to each. Some of their questions were more suited for a search engine, while other questions played to the strengths of a conversational AI. They also covered a wide range of topics, from culture and entertainment to health, government, and politics.

Their questions were split into three categories: basic, intermediate, and advanced. The team also labeled the questions based on their stakes (potential consequences), objectivity (has a verifiable answer), and time sensitivity (if the answer is static or could change over time).

Finally, the team scored the responses based on a combination of the following 12 characteristics they included: actionable, clear, comprehensive, concise, context rich, current, decisive, detailed, efficient, functional, impartial, and thoughtful.

Now, with all that in mind, which tool came out on top?

ChatGPT and Google Search attempt to answer the same question.
ChatGPT and Google Search attempt to answer the same question. Image source: Preply

You likely won’t be surprised to learn that ChatGPT claimed the victory, beating Google by a score of 26-13 with one tie. While Google was the winner in basic questions, high stakes questions, and fluid questions, OpenAI’s chatbot had the best responses in the other seven categories.

“Whereas ChatGPT almost always strikes a measured tone and offers thoughtful context, Google search results often reflect a more base human nature, filled with loud sales pitches and reductive framings intended to capture attention fast, at the expense of nuance and, sometimes, truth,” the researchers note at the end of the blog post containing the results of their study.

ChatGPT might have triumphed this time, but it will be interesting to conduct the same study again once Google launches its rival AI Bard in the coming weeks.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.