Dear Google: You're Screwed.

Are you ready for the impending death of search? Google, the giant of search engines, may be in serious trouble. Its core purpose is to point users towards the most popular content on the web based on their search query, and it's turned this once-innovative approach into a product that generates over $150 billion in ad revenue per year.

Google has an ad business because it knows based on your query that you might be looking for something that has monetary value, and companies pay for better positioning to get their answer clicked on as a suggested response to a user's query. This money-making strategy is being fundamentally altered as we enter the age of AI.

AI is about to disrupt the entire notion of search - a story

A technology commentator recently said "when you make a request of Google, it answers you by giving you a research project". If you type in the query "old dogs near me", you will get a list of websites for places near you that might offer dog adoption. You might then go to each of those websites to research which is the "best fit" of all, because in reality what you wanted was pretty complicated and nuanced, and the best way to figure it out was to search each website.

After several minutes, you will find an answer for the question you really wanted answered: "What are some places in San Francisco that offer dog adoption for senior dogs exclusively where I don’t have to spend more than $100 acquiring the dog. I would appreciate one that gives special consideration to veterans". It is this compound sentence that truly gets at what you are looking for, and it is this compound, dependent reality of what we truly want that will ultimately undo Google.

When you type this query into an AI chatbot like Chat GPT, you are delivered back answers like this "Muttville Senior Dog Rescue: This organization is dedicated to rescuing and finding homes for senior dogs. They often have a variety of breeds available for adoption and typically have a small adoption fee. They also offer a special program for veterans, which can include waived or reduced adoption fees."

When you instead type this query into Google, you get a list of websites. Here is the first answer I got, for an organization called Family Dog Rescue:

At Family Dog Rescue, we rescue dogs of all breeds, backgrounds, and personalities from California and Mexico. We provide care, medical treatment and...

Missing: places,‎ senior, ‎exclusively, ‎don' ‎t, ‎spend, ‎than, ‎acquiring, ‎appreciate,‎ consideration, ‎veterans

Which one did you find more useful? If like most people, you found the first one more helpful, you just experienced why Google is in serious, serious trouble.

The obvious way: as AI companies like OpenAI (in partnership with Microsoft) refine this information delivery technology, they will steal search queries away from Google, reducing the value of its ad business.

The less obvious way is far scarier if you are sitting in an executive chair at Google HQ. It's not just about losing search queries. If AI can give users a near-perfect answer, why would they be willing to click on suggested products and services they might consider capable of solving their problem? In other words, are search-based ads still necessary?

The future of search is bad news for Google, but it's also bad news for the entire advertising industry. But here's the thing - what's bad for Google and advertisers will be good for us. We'll be able to get the information we want in a way that is more customized and far, far more efficient. Sorry Google – but I’m really looking forward to this.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve on how AI is changing the game, subscribe to my newsletter.