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ChatGPT and Search Engines: How are They Different and Why Do You Care?

When it comes to finding information online, search engines like Google are the go-to source for most people. However, there is a new tool in town that is gaining popularity: ChatGPT.

While ChatGPT is much more than a search engine, many people are now using it to quickly find information. Plus, Microsoft is slowly morphing its Bing search engine to incorporate ChatGPT - as Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI, the organization that created ChatGPT - in its attempt to cut into Google's 90% search market share.

From a search perspective, what are the key differences between a search engine like Google and ChatGPT?

Search Engines Even as traditional search engines incorporate more chat-like features into how they work, they will always have an important role for the serious intelligence gatherer including:

1) Boolean Searches

Search engines like Google provide users with the ability to conduct Boolean searches, allowing them to refine their search and get more accurate results. Operators including quotation marks, minus signs, and complex operators including inurl:, intitle:, etc. can help users refine searches and get very precise results. I've made an entire career out of sharing the power of Boolean for finding business and sales intelligence, and have created powerful tools that use AI to automate complex Boolean searches. Boolean searches can be particularly useful when searching for complex information, as they allow users to include or exclude specific keywords or phrases.

2) Variety of Results

Search engines deliver a wide range of results for any given search term. According to a study conducted by Moz, the first page of Google search results captures 71% of search traffic clicks, with the first five results accounting for 67% of all clicks. Using a combination of site popularity, relevancy algorithms, and other factors, Google, for example, will typically offer first-page results that get to an answer in numerous ways.

5) Structured Information

Search engines can provide structured information in the form of featured snippets, knowledge panels, and rich results. According to a study conducted by SparkToro, featured snippets appear in 12.3% of search queries, with the vast majority of featured snippets coming from the top-ranking website. These features can be particularly useful for users who want to quickly find basic information on a topic, without having to visit multiple websites.

4) Sorting, Lists, Documents, and More

Google specifically has some very powerful Boolean search capabilities and search filters that can help a user laser-focus results. The ability to filter results based on date, location, and other factors like documents, searching specific websites, and finding current news can also be helpful when looking for business, sales, and competitive intelligence. You can experience some of these power searches for free at


ChatGPT also has several advantages when it comes to finding information online that offer major differences versus traditional search engines:

1) Personalization

Google personalizes results based on past search history (if you're logged into your Google account) and tracking websites you've visited, links you've clicked on, etc. ChatGPT takes personalization to a new level. ChatGPT can learn from previous conversations you've had with the language model system and understand your context and preferences. This means that the responses provided by ChatGPT are often more personalized and tailored to your specific needs than even what you would find via Google. Why is this important to businesses? According to a study conducted by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations.

2) Interpretation

To get laser-focus results in Google, you need to master Boolean or use a tool like YouGotIntel or an Intel Engine. ChatGPT, on the other hand, can interpret natural language queries and provide accurate and helpful responses, even if you don't use specific keywords. For general information searching, this potentially makes it easier for you to find the information you need, without having to spend time refining your search terms.

3) Conversational

ChatGPT can hold a conversation with the user and provide information in a more conversational and engaging way. This makes it easier for users to understand complex topics and get the information they need in a more natural and intuitive way. According to a study conducted by Drift, companies that use conversational marketing to engage with website visitors have a 10x higher conversion rate than those that don't. Using ChatGPT as a search engine allows you to have a conversation, almost like speaking with a librarian. If the results that come back aren't what you'd like, you can ask ChatGPT to search again, but in a different way.

As previously mentioned, Microsoft - being the major investor in ChatGPT's parent company - will soon incorporate ChatGPT into its products including its search engine, Bing. This is a smart move because Bing doesn't allow many of the complex Boolean algorithms that Google does, so from a serious sales, business, and competitive intelligence resource, Bing, as it stands today, is useless. However, by incorporating ChatGPT, while Bing still won't find very specific intelligence, its conversational style theoretically will make it much easier to find general industry information, trend and survey result data, and basic information about public and private companies.

The Bottom Line

Some think that ChatGPT will replace Google. It won't. Google will adapt and the importance of knowing when to use Google versus ChatGPT when it comes to finding sales, business, and competitive intelligence will be important, as both are designed to find different types of information in different ways.

The key will be, no matter what resource you use, the search mantra of "garbage in, garbage out; good stuff in, good stuff out" will be more important than ever.

Knowing how to search with ChatGPT will become increasingly important. ChatGPT is very easy to use - you just "talk" into it and have a conversation. Yet, even though sometimes it eerily acts like it, ChatGPT is not human so it cannot interpret natural language questions for intent or context. It will be important to know how to ask ChatGPT the right questions to get the desired results and then ask further questions to refine those results.

For those who conduct serious sales, business, and competitive intelligence, when using Google, knowing complex Boolean algorithms or using tools like or that automate complex searching, will also become imperative. Otherwise, as search results become more conversational in nature, "the good stuff" that is typically hidden on result page 50 will not be found.

If you'd like a custom program on what business intel, ChatGPT, and AI means for your organization, check out "Embrace It: ChatGPT, AI and Your Future."


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