AI Chat Prompt or Web Search? They’re Not the Same

Good AI Chat Prompts Are Not Good Web Search Terms, and Vice Versa. Except When They Are.

Lots of people seem to be conflating uses of Chatbots with uses of Search Engines.

For fun, I asked Photosonic (kin to Chatsonic, from Writesonic) to create an image for this post. The prompt was: Chatsonic and Google Search in an arm wrestling match. The result was “interesting.”

The more I play around with ChatGPT and other AI chatbots, the more clear it becomes to me that there is a big difference between using a chatbot compared to using a search engine.

For example, in a previous post I asked 4 chatbots to give me a list of the best books about President Chester Arthur. Several of the 21 results provided (almost half) were fictitious either in whole or in part (wrong author, wrong title, or both). Asking the same thing in a search engine will provide you only with real books, usually recommended by real people who have curated a list of their favorites, and with links to buy the book if you’re interested.

Another good example is when I asked the chatbots about the performance of the San Diego Padres in the 2022 MLB playoffs. A web search would have returned lots of info about who the Padres beat (the Mets and Dodgers! Yay!) and who they lost to. 😦 But the chatbots are pretty lousy at current or recent events, so they just made stuff up.

On the other hand, when I prompted ChatGPT and others to write quiz questions for an accounting topic, or to write a letter of recommendation for a former student, or to write a lesson plan for a class discussion and writing assignment, the chatbots provided extremely useful results that never would have been produced by a search engine.

Lots of chatter about how the Bing search engine is integrating ChatGPT, but most of us common folks don’t have access to that yet. I’m on the waiting list, but have no reason to believe that my wait will be short.

ChatGPT for Search Engines, a Chrome Extension

While perusing the #Productivity apps at Furturepedia.io, I found this Chrome extension: ChatGPT for Search Engines

I tested it out in three search engines: Duck Duck Go, Google, and Bing. I used a prompt that I wrote specifically to be used in a chatbot, to also see whether the search results would be useful as well. The prompt was: Write a blog post about how to become a death doula, and why someone might want to become one.

Here are the results, with each thumbnail below linked to a larger image to view. Search results on the left, ChatGPT results on the right.

Duck Duck Go search results with ChatGPT results included in right panel
Duck Duck Go
Bing search results with ChatGPT results included in right panel
Bing
Google search results with ChatGPT results included in right panel
Google

All 3 blog posts are different (as expected), and the search results add some potentially useful info that you might want to add to the blog post prior to hitting Publish. I did notice that the search results for Bing were less useful in this instance – as about half of the results are focused on writing blog posts and not on the subject of Death Doulas. The other two were more on topic.

One Response

  1. […] AI Chat Prompt or Web Search? They’re Not the Same […]

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