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Sam Altman, CEO of Microsoft-backed OpenAI. Picture: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN
Sam Altman, CEO of Microsoft-backed OpenAI. Picture: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN

San Francisco — OpenAI plans to announce its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered search product on Monday, according to two sources familiar with the matter, raising the stakes in its competition with search king Google.

The announcement date, though subject to change, has not been previously reported. Bloomberg and the Information have reported that Microsoft-backed OpenAI is working on a search product to potentially compete with Alphabet’s Google and with Perplexity, a well-funded AI search start-up.

OpenAI declined to comment before Reuters published an earlier report on Thursday.

After publication, OpenAI on Friday posted on X that the company would stream a live event on Monday, to “demo some ChatGPT and GPT-4 updates”.

CEO Sam Altman later posted on X: “not gpt-5, not a search engine, but we’ve been hard at work on some new stuff we think people will love! feels like magic to me.”

Alphabet’s stock partly recovered from an over 2% loss following Altman’s post, and was last down 0.9%.

OpenAI’s announcements could be timed a day before the Tuesday start of Google’s annual I/O conference, where the tech giant is expected to unveil a slew of AI-related products.

OpenAI’s search product is an extension of its flagship ChatGPT product, and enables ChatGPT to pull in direct information from the web and include citations, according to Bloomberg. ChatGPT is OpenAI's chatbot product that uses the company's cutting-edge AI models to generate human-like responses to text prompts.

Industry observers have long called ChatGPT an alternative for gathering online information, though it has struggled with providing accurate and real-time information from the web. OpenAI earlier gave it an integration with Microsoft’s Bing for paid subscribers. Meanwhile, Google has announced generative AI features for its own namesake engine.

Start-up Perplexity, which has a valuation of $1bn, was founded by a former OpenAI researcher, and has gained traction through providing an AI-native search interface that shows citations in results and images, as well as text, in its responses. It has 10-million monthly active users, according to a January blog post from the start-up.

At the time, OpenAI’s ChatGPT product was called the fastest application to ever reach 100-million monthly active users after it launched in late 2022. However, worldwide traffic to ChatGPT’s website has been on a roller-coaster ride in the past year and is only now returning to its May 2023 peak, according to analytics firm Similarweb, and the AI company is under pressure to expand its user base.

An earlier attempt to bring updated and real-world information in to ChatGPT, called ChatGPT plugins, was retired in April, according to a help centre posting on OpenAI’s website.

Reuters

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