This document is maintained and updated by the Momentic SEO team. We are now updating this document monthly.
Summary of the AI race
Google and Bing are both racing to bring generative AI to search, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai announcing Bard on February 6, 2023 and Bing revealing generative AI in search and its AI copilot to Microsoft's Edge browser on February 7, 2023. Bing plans to use search results to fact check AI answers, while Google is experimenting with Bard's implementation into search results for NORA (no one right answer) queries, with some features including links and others not. It’s not clear when Bing and Google’s newest products will be rolled out to the general public. We're updating this content as news breaks, as we test, and as we analyze the AI's responses.
Daily AI & search updates
Thursday, February 23, 2023
February 23, 2023 11:45 AM CST
There's been no official announcement, but Microsoft has apparently added restrictions to Bing's AI chatbot responses. Users are no longer able to engage with "Sydney" or prompt the chatbot to talk about its feelings. [Thomas Germain, Gizmodo]
February 23, 2023 10:34 AM CST
There's evidence Microsoft has been testing the Sydney chatbot inside Bing since 2021, though the full history is still under wraps at Microsoft. [Tom Warren, The Verge]
February 23, 2023 3:41 AM EST
ChatGPT has been removed from several popular Chinese apps on WeChat, a social media platform, with no official announcement as to why—though state-run media in China has claimed that ChatGPT could be used to spread disinformation and that strict regulations are needed. [Jessie Yeung and Wayne Chang, CNN]
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
February 22, 2023, 9:46AM EST
In an interview with Reuters, Alphabet Chairman John Hennessy said that user exchanges with LLM AI will likely cost ten time more than a regular Google search, though they expect that "fine-tuning" will bring the cost down. The extra expense comes from the additional computing power involved in AI responses. [Jeffrey Dastin and Stephen Nellis, Reuters]
February 22, 2023
Microsoft announced they're adding Bing preview capabilities to their Bing and Edge mobile browser apps, as well as new social integration with Skype. [Microsoft Bing Blogs]
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
February 21, 2023
Microsoft published a blog explaining why they imposed chat turn limits, and feedback on that decision. Users want longer chats, and they're trying to figure out how to make that available while avoiding the bizarre and inappropriate responses generated during the initial round of use. The cap is now increased to 60 chat turns per day/6 per session, and they're aiming for a daily cap of 100 "soon". Microsoft also says they'll begin letting users choose their preferred chat bot tone with "precise", "balanced," and "creative" as the initial options. [Microsoft Bing Blogs]
February 21, 2023
Microsoft published a blog explaining how AI-powered search is able to use data from websites to supply context and citations for its responses. They state that "Sending traffic to these sources is important for a healthy web ecosystem and remains one of our top Bing goals." [Microsoft Bing Blogs]
Friday, February 17, 2023
February 17, 2023
Microsoft published a blog stating that they're making changes to the new Bing based on user feedback: users are now limited to 50 chat turns per day and 5 chat turns per session (by "chat turn" they mean an exchange containing a user question and a Bing response). [Microsoft Bing Blogs]
February 17, 2023
Microsoft is already looking for ways to monetize Bing's AI. In an anonymous interview with Reuters, one ad exec said they're testing ad placement and planning on integrating paid links that relate to the user's query in the chatbot response window. [Sean Endicott, Windows Central]
February 17, 2023
Microsoft is putting users with Edge and Bing as their default browser/search engine at the top of the waitlist. [Liam Tung, ZDNet]
February 17, 2023 7:30 AM EST
This side-by-side comparison of ChatGPT and Google Bard points out key differences including accessibility, database, language model, plagiarism detection and more. [Aaron Leong and Jon Martindale, Digital Trends]
Thursday, February 16, 2023
February 16, 2023 3:49 PM IST
Business Insider reported on a leaked internal Google email where CEO Sundar Pichai asked Google employees to dedicate time to improve the accuracy of Bard's answers. The Business Insider article is gated, but you can find a summary here: [Kyle Barr, Gizmodo]
February 16, 2023 12:52 AM
Following the memo from Google's CEO, Google's VP for search Prabhakar Raghavan reportedly instructed employees to rewrite AI output for topics they know well, including specifications for POV, tone of voice, and what types of responses to "thumbs down." Google says that chatbots learn by example and that this type of "training" will improve the helpfulness of responses. [Mariella Moon, Engadget]
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
February 15, 2023 8:00 AM (CST)
You.com founder Richard Socher asserts that his company had a head start in providing search using generative AI, and that you.com’s new multimodal search capability puts them ahead of both Bing and Google. [Ron Miller, TechCrunch]
<div class="post-note">Unlike Sydney and Bard, you.com’s AI-based YouChat is bolstered by dozens of embedded apps, which Soder says are intended to make search more equitable. YouChat results include a sidebar with blue links to websites, as well as clickable citations within the AI chat response.</div>
February 15, 2023 12:01 PM (CST)
Bing Chat provided ‘Heil Hitler’ as part of a suggested response after a user said their name was Adolf. Gizmodo’s article includes a slideshow of screenshots showing even more surprising AI output (including one reply that accuses the user of being a time traveler, and another that seems to express digital existential angst). [Thomas Germain, Gizmodo]
February 15, 2023 Microsoft shares what they've learned about AI-powered Bing Search from the first week of testing. They note that users are responding well to "the citations and references that underly [sic] the answers in Bing" and says they're planning to quadruple down on the amount of grounding data they send to the LLM for queries requiring "more direct and factual answers".
Microsoft also addresses widespread reports of Bing's bizarre responses and says "very long chat sessions can confuse the model". [Microsoft Bing Blog]
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
February 14, 2023 6:41 PM (EST)
Google’s Bard wasn’t alone in blundering its launch demonstration. Microsoft’s AI also provided factually incorrect data in last week’s press-attended demo. [Kif Leswing, CNBC]
February 14, 2023 5:46 PM
Bing Chat (aka Sydney) denies the validity of a proven prompt injection hack discovered by Stanford University student Kevin Liu, and becomes antagonistic (and incorrect) when arguing with a user seeking a movie showtime. [Benj Edwards, Ars Technica]
February 14, 2023 11:55AM
Vint Cerf, vice president of Google and one of the original internet pioneers, warns against jumping on the AI chatbot trend too soon, and said systems engineers should be responsible for fixing mistakes and minimizing “worst-case potential.” [Britney Nguyen, Insider]
Monday, February 13, 2023
February 13, 2023 5:25 PM (EST)
Speaking at a Celesta Capital summit, Alphabet chair John Hennessy stated, “I think Google was hesitant to productize this [Bard] because it didn’t think it was ready for a product yet” and predicts it’ll be a year or two before generative AI is ready to be truly useful in search. [Jennifer Elias, CNBC]
Friday, February 10, 2023
February 10, 2023 10:55 AM (CST) — Now that we have access to the new Bing, we're testing out its capabilities. We are planning on updating this thread with some findings that include what Bing's generative AI is good at and what it struggles with.
We are 17 hours into our experience with Bing and Microsoft Edge's implementation of GPT. Our initial findings match our early predictions:
- Bing's GPT is faster than Chat GPT
- Bing's GPT can create answers from content in its index—even recent / developing events
- Bing's GPT hallucinates at times, especially when it's asked to find price and other numeric data related to a specific entity
- The quality of its response is dependent on the quality of the user's input.
- The accuracy of its response is dependent on the accuracy, breadth, and volume of content in Bing's index. This is very encouraging and seemingly important for the future of results-driven SEO.
<div class="post-note">Right now it looks like GPT (and likely Bard) need proper E-E-A-T content at scale to provide accurate, relevant, and diverse answers. We can see a situation where brands want their competitors to implement good SEO and E-E-A-T practices with the goal of awarding that group of websites with citations in chat responses. this is because we don't see citations exist in isolation. Yes, even for brand terms and intent. So, optimization might now include accuracy, relevance, and authority within an entity's entire knowledge graph. Entity lines are extra blurry for NORA queries and highly competitive non-brand topics.</div>
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Momentic now has access to the new Bing
February 9, 2023 5:00 PM (CST) — We finally got access to test out the new Bing. We asked it to summarize the generative AI race between Google and Microsoft. Here's the new Bing's response:
<blockquote class="quote">Here is a quick update with key bullet points on the race between Microsoft and Google to bring generative AI to search:<ul><li>Microsoft and Google are both using generative AI, a type of artificial intelligence that can create text and other content, to enhance their search engines and offer new services to users² ⁶.</li><li>Microsoft launched its generative AI search feature in February 2023, using ChatGPT, a chatbot developed by OpenAI that can interact in human-like conversations and provide detailed responses to queries⁵.</li><li>Google announced its own generative AI search feature a day later, using Bard, a chatbot service that can generate text and other content based on user input² ⁴.</li><li>Both companies claim that their generative AI search features can help users find more relevant and personalized information, as well as assist them with tasks such as composing emails, essays, and code⁸.</li><li>Both companies are also facing challenges and criticisms, such as ensuring the quality and accuracy of the generated content, avoiding ethical and legal issues, and competing with other players in the AI field³ ⁶</li><li>The race between Microsoft and Google to bring generative AI to search is expected to intensify in the coming months and years, as both companies continue to invest in and improve their AI technologies⁵ ⁶.</li></ul></blockquote>
Source: Conversation with Bing, 2/9/2023
February 9, 2023 8:06 AM (CST) — Microsoft expressed confidence in gaining market share in search.
- VIDEO: Can Bing and OpenAI Challenge Google? Microsoft's Satya Nadella Weighs In (Exclusive) [WSJ on YouTube]
- Microsoft will let companies create their own custom versions of ChatGPT [Jordan Novet, CNBC]
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Google’s first Bard demo contained an egregious and easily fact-checked error:
February 8, 2023 9:16 AM (CST) — In an internal memo to employees, Sundar Pichai mentioned that they will “be enlisting every Googler to help shape Bard and contribute through a special company-wide dogfood” the week of February 13, 2023. (In tech jargon, ‘dogfooding’ is using your company’s new product as users would in order to refine and troubleshoot.)
Google Livestream — February 8, 2023
February 8, 2023 7:30 AM (CST) — Google held a livestream event in Paris about search and AI. [Source: Google, YouTube]
Updates about Bard, Google’s generative AI
- Bard’s implementation into search results will not include links or citations like Bing, though some NORA SERP features will include links. Google called this an experimental period and said they still want to send traffic to websites.
- No launch date for Bard in Google Search
- Generative AI / Bard will be used on SERPs for NORA (No One Right Answer) queries.
Other updates mentioned during the event
- “Multisearch” —Expected to be released in the next few months, multisearch will allow users to search with their smartphone camera and add text to the search query as well.
- Google Maps Updates—Glanceable directions, immersive view, indoor live view, and EV (electric vehicle) maps
- Improvements to Google Translate—New Android app, translation via AR (augmented reality), and contextual translation capabilities
Read more: New with Google multisearch, Google Maps, and more previews of Bard [Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land]
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
February 7, 2023 4:05 PM (CST) — Microsoft executive Yusuf Medhi stated that it’s important to drive traffic to websites that help supply / fact check AI results.
@Tyler Einberger: IMO they have to do this or else creators will stop creating content that’s usable by LLMs (large language models).
February 7, 2023 4:03 PM (CST) — Dena Saunders, OpenAI and Bing product manager, said Bing is planning on using search results to “fact check” AI answers.
@Tyler Einberger: IMO this will encourage SEOs and content creators to focus on quality and E-E-A-T.
February 7, 2023 3:52 PM (CST) — if you’re not redirected to the normal Bing homepage when you try to load bing.com/new, you’ll see a prompt to sign up for the waitlist and receive an email confirmation if you sign up. Bing was eager to formally announce its new product, but it’s unclear how long the waitlist is or when the New Bing will officially roll out for everyone.
February 7, 2023 1:15 PM (CST) — Bing’s official release statement: Reinventing search with a new AI-powered Microsoft Bing and Edge, your copilot for the web [Source: Yusuf Mehdi, blogs.microsoft.com]
Bing's "Special" AI Announcement
February 7, 2023 12:42 PM (CST) — Summary of Bing’s “Special” Event [via Barry Schwartz, Twitter]
- The new Bing is here! [https://bing.com/new] - if you can’t load it, then you’ll be able to load it soon, notes Barry.
- Bing said 40% of search queries result in someone clicking back (to the results page). This is why search needs a new approach, according to Bing.
- Bing made some core search index improvements and applied AI to the core. Bing says the result is a huge improvement in relevancy.
- A new ChatGPT that also uses the Prometheus model is being implemented alongside search results as well as a separate “Chat” tab on Bing SERPs
- Conversational AI in search will be able to answer complex questions and cite sources; even for “fresh” topics.
- It seemed like the new AI-powered Bing can do math, which is something standalone ChatGPT notoriously struggles with.
- BIG: Microsoft is implementing AI copilot to its Edge browser (a longtime meme subject) for chat integration alongside website search results. Barry noted it can even translate code into different languages and compare anything in your browser to what’s in Bing’s index.
- Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said AI will revolutionize every software category, starting with search.
- Microsoft revamps Bing search engine to use artificial intelligence [Bobby Allyn, npr.org]
- Microsoft announces new Bing and Edge browser powered by upgraded ChatGPT AI [from James Vincent, The Verge]
February 7, 2023 12:11 PM (CST) — Microsoft's AI event is underway, kicked off by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also in attendance. Nadella spoke about the promising future of AI as Barry Schwartz live tweeted the event.
February 7, 2023 8:45 AM (CST) — today Bing & ChatGPT are set to make an announcement—likely launching ChatGPT’s integration into Bing’s Search Engine. The event was secret until Google announced Bard yesterday. This is an in-person, invite-only event with no live stream, but there are some industry reporters that may be live-tweeting the event to keep us all in the loop. The event is scheduled to start February 7, 2023 12:00 PM. [see also: I’m at the Microsoft event, Barry Schwartz, SEO Roundtable | Microsoft announces surprise event, The Verge]
Monday, February 6, 2023
Summary of the day—it was a busy Monday
- Google’s Live from Paris search and AI event for February 8, 2023 was announced. ”We're reimagining how people search for, explore and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever before to find what you need.” [Google Europe on Twitter]
- Google’s CEO introduced ‘Bard’ as competitor to ChatGPT. [blog.google.com]
- Bing announced a ‘special event’ for February 7, 2023.
February 6, 2023 2:38 PM (CST) — Reuters is on alert! [Reuters]
February 6, 2023 2:18 PM (CST) — Ready or not, seems like Google is doing everything they can to make sure Bing+ChatGPT is irrelevant when the New Bing Launches, but Bing is holding its own.
February 6, 2023 2:07 PM (CST) — further reading from ‘An important next step on our AI journey’ [blog.google.com]
- [2202.05924] Compute Trends Across Three Eras of Machine Learning
-  Transformer: Attention Is All You Need
- LaMDA: Towards Safe, Grounded, and High-Quality Dialog Models for Everything
- AI in video: Search helps you find key moments in videos
- Using AI to keep Google Search safe
- Our Principles – Google AI
February 6, 2023 1:52 PM (CST) — Summary of Sundar Pichai’s, ‘An important next step on our AI journey’ [blog.google.com]
- AI is advancing rapidly. The largest AI computations double every 6 months.
- Google released an experimental conversational AI service called ‘Bard’ (February 6, 2023, for testing) — Bard combines knowledge from the web with large language models (LLMs) for fresh, high-quality responses.
- First release of Bard is a lightweight version of LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), meaning it’s a smaller model, but faster and easier to scale to more users.
- Google is planning on bringing Bard to more products, but Search will be first.
- Google’s newest AI tech includes LaMDA, PaLM, Imagen and MusicLM
- Google is planning on releasing its Generative Language API (LaMDA) to select developers in March 2023.
- Google claims its 2017 Transformer research project and advances in diffusion models are at the core of the generative AI applications that are starting to be available.
- To ensure responsible use of these powerful tools Google published a set of principles outlining best practices when it comes to developing safe, reliable, trustworthy systems through partnerships.
February 6, 2023 1:46 PM (CST) — Is ‘Bard’ the end for featured snippets??
February 6, 2023 1:42 PM (CST) - Google releases ‘Bard’ to early testers [The Verge & Bloomberg]
February 6, 2023 1:29 PM (CST) — Bing just confirmed an event for February 7, 2023 to reveal updates on ChatGPT + Bing Search, just minutes after Google’s announcement of Bard. [The Verge]
February 6, 2023 1:00 PM (CST) — Sundar Pichai (Google CEO) introduces ‘Bard’ on blog.google.com [blog.google.com]
AI & SEO: How we're currently reacting
TL;DR—We're not, really.
- Overreaction: “RIP Google” and “SEO is Dead”
- Realistic reaction: Organic search traffic to websites might decrease. This depends on how AI generated results are annotated. More to come here when Bing and Google release their AIs in search. User pros include quick access to exact intent. User cons include the fact that AI is biased [source], and Chat GPT is known to “hallucinate responses” [source].
- Underreaction: “GPT / LaMDA is just a bubble like Web3”.
AI & SEO: Things we're wondering & theorizing
- Will we see the weight of content change as a ranking signal? Maybe! [Kevin Indig, kevin-indig.com]
- Is there a risk to traditional SEO models and website traffic? Check out perplexity.ai. Opinion: Links to sources aren’t there to be clicked. They are there to provide the optics of accuracy. We don’t know what Google’s implementation will look like or how they’ll try to monetize it, but Perplexity’s implementation is kind of scary as the citation links are only presented as superscript numbers.
- AI search results will cite specific web pages and there will be competition to see which website(s) get the citation(s)/link(s) for specific queries—like a next-level featured snippet. E-E-A-T will become even more important as all the search engines try to prove that their chat bot search results are accurate. Maybe the future of SEO includes AEO?
- Click-through from organic blue links will go down as more people get quick answers from AI chat results. This could make direct traffic more valuable, putting more of a focus on getting users to subscribe to content or bookmark a site rather than just rank on SERPs. This will require a solid content strategy with regular updates of consistently high quality.
- You can already have your own website's AI chat bot show up in SERPs via your Google Business Profile, so it's likely more sites will start doing that.
AI & SEO: Helpful previous context
- Feb 6, 2023—13 minute video overview to catch up on last week [Barry Schwartz, YouTube]
- Feb 6, 2023—Google might release its ChatGPT competitor, LaMDA this week! [Tech In Asia Article]
- Feb 4, 2023—Leaked Bing Preview [Twitter link]. Here’s an article from the guy who accidentally got access to the new Bing [Owen Yin, Medium]
- Feb 4, 2023—Dr. Marie Haynes breaks down scenarios on how AI in search could change how search works for every intent. [Twitter thread]
- Feb 3, 2023—Google invests $400M in Anthropic (AI Startup) [Bloomberg]
- Feb 3, 2023—Google Confirms New Chat Based Search Feature Coming Really Soon [Search Engine Roundtable]
References (from Bing's response)
(1) Google to soon add generative AI features in search results. https://www.reuters.com/technology/google-says-soon-add-generative-ai-features-search-results-2023-02-08/ Accessed 2/9/2023.
(2) Google announces new AI search features, as race with Microsoft heats up. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/google-announces-new-ai-search-features-as-race-with-microsoft-heats-up-141056757.html Accessed 2/9/2023.
(3) Microsoft Announces New Generative AI Search Using ChatGPT; Bada BING .... https://www.forbes.com/sites/moorinsights/2023/02/09/microsoft-announces-new-generative-ai-search-using-chatgpt-bada-bing-bada-boom-the-ai-race-is-on/ Accessed 2/9/2023.
(4) ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue. https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt/ Accessed 2/9/2023.
(5) Google to soon add generative AI features in search results. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/technology/google-to-soon-add-generative-ai-features-in-search-results/articleshow/97741391.cms Accessed 2/9/2023.
(6) What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here’s what you need to know. https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-chatgpt-and-why-does-it-matter-heres-everything-you-need-to-know/ Accessed 2/9/2023.
(7) Microsoft, Google race to incorporate AI in search bots, other tech .... https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/02/08/google-bard-chatbot-microsoft/ Accessed 2/9/2023.
(8) Google to soon add generative AI features in search results. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/technology/google-to-soon-add-generative-ai-features-in-search-results/articleshow/97741391.cms#:~:text=Google%20said%20on%20Wednesday%20it%20would%20soon%20integrate,on%20Monday%20its%20own%20chatbot%20service%2C%20called%20Bard. Accessed 2/9/2023.
(9) ChatGPT - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ChatGPT Accessed 2/9/2023.
(10) ChatGPT: What Is It & How Can You Use It?. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/what-is-chatgpt/473664/ Accessed 2/9/2023.
(11) Microsoft ChatGPT event 2023 live updates. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/07/microsoft-open-ai-chatgpt-event-2023-live-updates.html Accessed 2/9/2023.
(12) ChatGPT is helping workers in real estate, finance and health care do .... https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chatgpt-work-real-estate-finance-health-care-how-workers-use-it-jobs/ Accessed 2/9/2023.