OpenAI Might Unveil Its Google Search Rival on May 13th [Updated]

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Key Takeaways

  • OpenAI is reportedly launching an AI-based search engine on May 13th.
  • It may use ChatGPT to get web information and quotes.
  • The tool would compete with Google and Perplexity.

OpenAI hopes to launch an AI-based search engine on May 13th, Reuters sources claimed, although the company later rejected the reports.

As Bloomberg previously reported, the OpenAI search tool would supposedly use ChatGPT to obtain information directly from the web, including source citations. One engine version in development would display images when necessary.

OpenAI founder Sam Altman later denied the claim, but did say the company would stream live on the 13th at 1PM Eastern to share important ChatGPT and GPT-4 updates.

Whatever arrives, the launch timing would be convenient for OpenAI. Google starts its I/O developer conference on May 14th, and the company is expected to use its keynote to outline AI-driven advances to its products. Google has been pushing Gemini-based features in search and other offerings, and OpenAI may undercut any I/O announcements.

The rumored OpenAI product would also have completed with Perplexity, a startup whose centerpiece is AI-based search. It already shows citations and images in responses, and has over 10 million active users each month. ChatGPT still has much more activity (nearly 1.8 billion visits per month as of March, according to Similarweb), but it’s not yet evident that this would translate to success for a search feature.

Generative AI also has issues regardless of the provider. It’s sometimes inaccurate, and can pull outdated information. An effective search engine needs both a high level of accuracy and access to updated data. It’s typically used to brainstorm ideas or create images.

A successful engine, however. could have a significant impact. It would let web users conduct searches in a more natural way, and get direct answers to their questions instead of ranked results. That, in turn, could lead website creators to rethink how they provide info and optimize for search.

Update 5/10 2:45PM ET: Sam Altman has denied the search engine report, but promised ChatGPT and GPT-4 updates on the 13th. We’ve updated the story accordingly.