ChatGPT search feature rumors heating up

OpenAI may be getting closer to launching its ChatGPT product that searches the web and cites sources when answering questions.

Chat with SearchBot

All signs point to ChatGPT launching a search feature soon. When? That remains the big question.

Update, May 10. OpenAI announced a live stream for 10 a.m. PT on May 13 to demo “some ChatGPT and GPT-4 updates.” OpenAI CEO Sam Altman posted on X:

  • “not gpt-5, not a search engine, but we’ve been hard at work on some new stuff we think people will love! feels like magic to me.”

Rumor has it. OpenAI is developing a ChatGPT feature that searches the web and cites sources in its results, Bloomberg reported (subscription required):

  • “The feature would allow users to ask ChatGPT a question and receive answers that use details from the web with citations to sources such as Wikipedia entries and blog posts … One version of the product also uses images alongside written responses to questions, when they’re relevant. If a user asked ChatGPT how to change a doorknob, for instance, the results might include a diagram to illustrate the task…”

And. “OpenAI has been aggressively trying to poach Google employees for a team that is working hard to ship the product soon,” according to the Verge.

Why we care. Search has quickly evolved in a new direction since the emergence of generative AI – with OpenAI seemingly perceived to be ahead of Google in many ways (not yet including Search), even though ChatGPT’s user base is still much smaller than Google. However, there is clearly growing frustration with all aspects of Google – from the quality of Search results to its abundance of advertising. Not to mention Google’s alleged monopolistic practices that have hurt advertisers, users and competitors.

X things we know about ChatGPT search. ChatGPT doesn’t want to copy Google’s model or layout (he hates ads). OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said as much earlier this year:

  • “I don’t think the world needs another copy of Google,” Altman said.

ChatGPT’s version of Search wouldn’t be traditional, or classic, general web search. Altman’s vision is integrating ChatGPT with Search:

  • “…We are interested in how to do that well. That would be an example of a cool thing. I don’t think anyone has cracked the code on yet. I would love to go do that. I think that would be cool,” Altman said.

Dig deeper. Is ChatGPT the Google Search killer we’ve been expecting?

Other ChatGPT search developments. We first heard rumors about OpenAI’s search product in February. Other stories Search Engine Land has covered:

More evidence. appeared in the log files for some servers, as reported In Report: OpenAI To Launch Search Engine on Search Engine Roundtable by Barry Schwartz. There were incorrect rumors that ChatGPT’s search product would launch as early as tomorrow (May 9).

Update, May 10. ChatGPT is expected to announce its new search feature Monday, unnamed company sources told Reuters. That’s one day prior to Google’s I/O event.

About the author

Danny Goodwin
Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo - SMX since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events.

Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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