Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI
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AI may be the hottest thing in the technology industry, but OpenAI’s ChatGPT is not on pace to challenge Google’s grip as the search engine leader, according to new analysis from Bank of America Securities.
Analysts found that app downloads for ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing have slowed in recent weeks, citing Sensor Tower data, BofA analyst Justin Post wrote in a note Wednesday.
ChatGPT downloads on iPhones in the U.S. were down 38% month over month in June, according to the note. Bing app downloads, which includes a ChatGPT-based chatbot in the U.S., were also down 38% in June.
Google’s search engine market share is slightly up year over year at over 92%, according to the note, citing SimilarWeb data. Microsoft’s Bing, which uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology, was down 40 basis points on an annual basis to about 2.8% of the market.
The slowing attention for ChatGPT and similar large language models, or LLMs, highlights the investment risk for companies such as Google and Microsoft, which have funneled billions of dollars into the idea that recent AI advances could create a next-generation search engine to displace the current winner. Both companies, as well as other tech giants such as Nvidia, are also investing hundreds of millions in AI startups.
But if ChatGPT adoption is already slowing, it could indicate that the technology may not seriously threaten Google’s dominance in search — and companies might have to find other applications for LLMs, such as in new advertiser tools, the analysts wrote.
“As for Google’s stock, LLM concerns for Google search have seemingly shifted from market share risk to monetization risk, but with search share seemingly healthy, Google may have less urgency to integrate LLM (chat) results into commercial queries,” Post wrote in the note.
The ChatGPT app was released in May and so far is available only for iPhones. Bank of America analysts believe that a forthcoming OpenAI app for Android could boost adoption.
Besides the app or Bing search engine, ChatGPT users can also access the chatbot through its website. Bank of America analysts estimate visits to ChatGPT were down about 11% on a monthly basis to just over 51 million visitors per week, or only about 2% of Google’s estimated web traffic.