ChatGPT vs Google: Is it time to set up a private community?

By Mark Jones

January 2, 2023


I am sure you've all seen the massive buzz around ChatGPT recently. And quite rightly so! It's hit 1 million users faster than pretty much anything before. In this article, I want to:

  • Explain the huge impact that ChatGPT is going to have on everyday web sites in the near future.
  • Why Google (and us) should be very worried.
  • And, why I think building a community on platforms like Circle are the best thing you can start building today, so you can be ready when the big change happens. 

Interested in the future of AI?

If you are generally interested in the future of AI then be sure to get a copy of 'The Loop' by Jacob Ward. The Loop is a book that discusses the potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it may exploit the unconscious habits of human minds. The author, Jacob Ward, travels around the world speaking with experts in the field of AI and examines real-world examples of its use, such as in biometric surveillance and social media control in India and China, respectively. Ward argues that AI may replicate and amplify dangerous human habits and biases, and calls for greater self-awareness in creating and utilizing AI in order to ensure that it reflects the best aspects of humanity. 

What is "ChatGPT"?

ChatGPT is an AI assistant trained by OpenAI and is designed to assist users by answering questions and providing information on a wide range of topics. Let me tell you now, it's frickin' AWESOME!

How did ChatGPT "learn"?

As an AI language model, ChatGPT was trained on a dataset of billions of words from a wide variety of sources, including books, websites, and other texts. This dataset was compiled and curated by the team of developers at OpenAI who created ChatGPT. The purpose of training on such a large dataset is to give it a wide range of knowledge and the ability to understand and generate human-like text.

The Internet is never going to be the same again!

In my opinion, ChatGPT is the biggest "digital revolution" since the Internet first came in. Right now it's "version 1" and it's already incredible. Imagine it in 3-5 years when it's using even more data sources (in real-time) and even more data points to learn from (GPT-4). Wowsers!

Google should be very worried!

Google is such a household name for so many of us. We simply type in a query and it returns an answer from it's vast database of crawled web pages. Google's whole business model is to show you adverts along with those search results. When we click them, they make money. A LOT of money. As we perform billions of queries, Google also know's everything about us making it extremely clever when it comes to running ads across all of it's platforms (e.g YouTube). 

Already, for many knowledge-based queries in ChatGPT you really don't need to use Google at all. In fact, ChatGPT has already cut out many of the things I'd normally use Google for. For example, my dad is currently very sick in hospital. As you'd expect doctors are bombarding me with terms like "Neutropenic Sepsis" or "Low Neutrophils". I've already added ChatGPT to my mobile home screen, so I simply ask it "Tell me what Neutropenic Sepsis is. Make the answer so that a 10 year old would understand it". Once you click enter, you get a human-readable answer that's a vastly superior experience to having to navigate 5 sites, (with ads ruining the experience) and some that are useless!  I can get my answer in seconds and it's easy to understand.

Overall, if I had rate the experience of using ChatGPT I'd give it 9/10 and Google, a 6/10. ChatGPT just gets me to my answer so much faster and the user experience is frictionless.

What would happen if Google was no longer used?

TBH, This is a question I never thought I'd ask before retirement but now I think it's a distinct possibility. Google will obviously, try to combat the ChatGPT threat and will more than likely bring out their own version, but, rest-assured, "Search" is set to change. Google will still be around for a good few years but I am willing to take a bet that it's already been impacted.  

So let's rub our crystal ball and look at the next 3-5 years where people use Google less and less. This has huge impacts for all types of sites:

Here are some types of sites that you can find on the internet, along with the impact that the absence of search engines like Google would have on each type of site:

  1. Social media sites: These sites would likely still be able to function without search engines, as they are primarily used for sharing content and connecting with other users. However, the absence of search engines would make it more difficult for users to discover new social media sites, potentially limiting their growth. Monetization of social media sites could be impacted if they rely on search engine traffic to drive user engagement and ad revenue. 
  2. Directory sites: These sites rely on search engines to help users discover the websites that are listed in their directories. Without search engines, directory sites would likely see a significant decrease in traffic and could struggle to monetize their content.
  3. News sites: News sites rely on search engines to help users discover their content and to drive traffic to their sites. Without search engines, news sites would need to find alternative ways to promote their content, potentially leading to a decrease in traffic and monetization.
  4. E-commerce sites: E-commerce sites rely on search engines to help users discover their products and to drive traffic to their sites. Without search engines, e-commerce sites would need to find alternative ways to promote their products, potentially leading to a decrease in traffic and sales. You will probably see Amazon and few others grow massively as they will be used to search.
  5. Blogs: Blogs would likely still be able to function without search engines, as they are often focused on specific topics and can be discovered through social media and other means. However, the absence of search engines would make it more difficult for users to discover new blogs, potentially limiting their growth. Monetization of blogs will be massively impacted if they rely on search engine traffic to drive user engagement and ad revenue.
  6. Discussion forums: These sites would likely still be able to function without search engines, as they are often focused on specific topics and can be discovered through social media and other means. However, the absence of search engines would make it more difficult for users to discover new discussion forums, potentially limiting their growth. Monetization of discussion forums could be impacted if they rely on search engine traffic to drive user engagement and ad revenue.
  7. Video sharing sites: These sites would likely still be able to function without search engines, as they are often focused on specific topics and can be discovered through social media and other means. However, the absence of search engines would make it more difficult for users to discover new video sharing sites, potentially limiting their growth. Monetization of video sharing sites could be impacted if they rely on search engine traffic to drive user engagement and ad revenue.
  8. Educational sites: These sites would likely still be able to function without search engines, as they are often focused on specific topics and can be discovered through social media and other means. However, the absence of search engines would make it more difficult for users to discover new educational resources, potentially limiting their growth. Monetization of educational sites could be impacted if they rely on search engine traffic to drive user engagement and ad revenue.
  9. Government sites: Government sites would likely still be able to function without search engines, as they are often focused on specific topics and can be discovered through other means. However, the absence of search engines would make it more difficult for users to discover government resources, potentially impacting the effectiveness of these sites in providing information and services to the public. Monetization of government sites would not be impacted by the absence of search engines.

Is it even worth creating content in the future?

When AI tools like ChatGPT are able to crawl and learn from every YouTube video, every News article on the BBC/CNBC etc, every blog post and every answer on sites like StackOverflow, Quora or Reddit. It will be able to answer virtually any question we throw at it and it won't credit where it sourced it's learning from.

This then leads us to natural questions such as:

  • If the AI tool doesn't credit the sources (usually many) that it learned from then what's the point of the creating the content in the first place? After all, so many of us create YouTube videos and write blogs to receive ad revenue from Google.  
  • Should we even allow AI to crawl and learn from human-generated content, surely this is copyrighted? You could argue that with Google's "Rich Snippets" are a step towards this future, because Google shares the answer without sending people to the site. But, at least they credit the source and there's a chance the searcher will click-through.   
  • If ChatGPT is so good at creating blog content, video scripts, sales pages etc., aren't we just going to see a "dumbed-down" future where content is all written by "AI-Based"? In this case, tools like ChatGPT will see their growth stunted as us humans will no longer bother to "create". Without us humans producing content to take AI to the next-level, AI could well see a ceiling on it's learning capacity. In the short term anyway.  
  • If we don't receive the traffic from Google then we won't be able to analyse what content worked and what didn't? In essence, if ChatGPT just leaches from your content and slaps it into it's database for it's own learning, you will never know which of your articles were used to answer any of the questions that people asked it. You will be totally blind so will likely have to find a Plan B.

Arghhhh!, so what do we do, then? Start building your own communities, TODAY!

I think one very sane approach (which we've already spent a year doing), is by moving your followers to closed, private platforms like Circle. Circle is very similar to Facebook but gives you full control over the content and membership. 

If you can create and run your own private community now, it'll pay dividends down the line. It's also a very good idea to start marketing it today because you can still take advantage of social media sites, Search Engine Optimisation and other traditional forms of marketing before AI wipes them out. 

Here are some advantages of using Circle (vs a blog or Facebook group):

Increased engagement: Private communities can foster a sense of belonging and encourage more active participation from members.

Higher quality content: With a smaller, more committed group of members, the content within the community is likely to be of higher quality and more relevant to the group.

You run the show: Private communities allow the creator to have more control over who can join and what content is shared, allowing for a more curated and controlled environment.

Greater privacy: Private communities provide a space for members to discuss sensitive or personal topics without fear of their content being shared publicly. If your content is very niche and you'd like to keep the AI Bots away you may choose to lock it down by making it so that you have to log-in.

Increased loyalty: Members of a private community may feel a stronger sense of loyalty to the group and its members, leading to increased retention.

Monetization opportunities: Private communities can provide opportunities for monetization through membership fees, subscriptions, and other revenue streams. This could replace the Ad-revenue you will eventually lose because Google's not going to send you traffic. 

Networking and collaboration: Private communities can be a valuable resource for networking and collaboration, allowing members to connect and work together on projects.

There's never been a time to build your own community so why not learn more about Circle? Get Started.

If you'd like to see a community, built on Circle then take a look at ours called "Collab365 Academy". It's a community for people who want to learn Microsoft 365. You won't see the full experience until you become a member and log-in but it gives you the general idea. 

Mark Jones

About Mark Jones

My goal is to help 1000 Microsoft experts have more freedom by selling their skills, working from wherever they choose.

To achieve this, I want to help educate via these sites:

πŸ‘‰ Collab365 Summits - Massive virtual conferences for Microsoft products
πŸ‘‰ Collab365 Today - Aggregation site for the best community blogs
πŸ‘‰ Collab365 Community - Huge blog site including plenty of Microsoft content

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