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Could TikTok Be the Dark Horse in the Search War Between ChatGPT and Google?

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ChatGPT has been cited as a potential ‘Google-killer’ due to its ability to serve some of the jobs that many people previously looked to the world’s biggest search engine for. ChatGPT excels in providing contextual, sophisticated answers and outputs in a conversational form. Indeed, it is gradually extending to other forms, including tables and pdfs.

Yet, earlier today, when I wanted an answer to a question, it was not ChatGPT or Google that I turned to, it was TikTok.

I wanted to know the best way to answer a common interview question, and I wanted an answer from a human. Chat GPT could have given me an expert answer, summarising the vast swathes of data it has been trained on. But what I needed at that moment was a voice, a face and a heart that knew what I was going through. I wanted personal perspectives just as much as I wanted accurate answers.

So where does this leave the war? Well, in the coming months and years both ChatGPT and Google will evolve. We can expect better outputs for different use cases. Right now, neither offers a particularly nuanced, customised or contextual response to the question: ‘What should I wear to my cousin’s wedding next month?’ Despite TikTok’s current differentiation, generative technologies are not too far from generating ‘talking head’ responses to questions – in other words, ChatGPT, Google and similar tools could one day auto-generate TikTok-like video responses to queries.

One might see these developments as gradually eliminating human answers, creativity and content. However, just as books and literary magazines still exist in a world of TV series and movies, I believe that human content and perspectives will have their place in a world where we are even more reliant on machines for answers.

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