Microsoft's Bing, the search engine you absolutely forgot about until three months ago, may be on the brink of a comeback so major that it has Google shaking in its boots. The New York Times reports(opens in a new tab) that Samsung has been considering using Bing as the default search engine for its phones, replacing long-time partner Google.
While, as the Times noted, it's not explicitly clear that the launch of Bing's AI-enabled search drove Samsung to consider ditching Google, that possibility has caused internal “panic" at Google, which brings in about $3 billion annually from the Samsung partnership. As a result, Google has apparently put AI development into overdrive.
But why does Google care about a deal that makes up less than two percent of the company's $162 million search ads business? Because a loss like that is one ugly crack in an otherwise impenetrable facade. Google's primary money-making business is search ads and the New York Times calls "AI competitors like the new Bing... the most serious threat(opens in a new tab) to Google’s search business in 25 years."
Plus, the AI market is heating up, and Google wants to be a contender. As it rushes to build a new AI-based search engine, the company is upgrading its existing search with AI features under a project named Magi. Other product ideas in development include a tool that uses AI to generate images in Google Image results and another that teaches users a new language via AI text conversations.
But Google may have a long road ahead of it. Its AI chatbot Bard was released last month to mixed reviews as ChatGPT continued to impress. Now that Samsung's eye is wandering, Google has to step up its game before it gets stepped on.