Is ChatGPT Actually Hurting Google Search?

BofA Global Research weighs in on the AI competition.

Deborah Yao, Editor

March 1, 2023

2 Min Read
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Daily traffic to OpenAI’s viral chatbot, ChatGPT, continues to skyrocket but Google search revenues have remained stable so far, according to BofA Global Research.

ChatGPT traffic doubled in February alone and searches for the chatbot remain “at high levels,” wrote analyst Justin Post in this week's research note shared with AI Business.

After Microsoft announced that users can access the new, ChatGPT-powered Bing faster on Feb. 7, Bing mobile app downloads spiked and remain “elevated,” the analyst said. However, activity has since “moderated” in the last half of February.

Meanwhile, downloads of Google’s mobile app was more than triple that of Bing at the end of February, and hit a low of 1.2 times in the month. However, that is still an improvement for Bing from early February, when Google’s app had 20 times more downloads.

Google’s app downloads actually were “stable” in January and February as Bing’s has soared and ebbed, Post said.

What is more crucial for Google is that “we are not aware of any slowing in Google search revenues that could be attributed to the late-2022 ChatGPT launch,” he wrote.

Wall Street’s view of Google, however, is decidedly down. Since the launch of ChatGPT on Nov. 30, Google’s shares have declined 11% as of Feb. 28 − wiping out around $140 billion in market value.

Related:Google vs. Microsoft: Who Has the Advantage in the AI Race?

The analyst does see Google’s shares as “attractive” since its core valuation of 10 times 2023 EPS is already embedded in the stock price.

Bull and bear cases for Google

The positive view of Google includes the following:

  • Google has a big head start in AI/ML, which will likely drive incremental demand for search and cloud, plus an improved Google ad platform.

  • YouTube is seeing a usage lift from Shorts, where monetization will drive this channel’s growth in the second half of 2023.

  • Expense management and server useful life changes will drive margin leverage in the second half of the year.

The negative view of Google includes the following:

  • Search will see later-stage impact from the recession.

  • New competition in search from ChatGPT and Bing will disrupt search market share, monetization and costs.

  • Play store fees are at risk.

  • U.S. Justice Department lawsuit over search monopoly that starts in September could disrupt its distribution model.

  • Other big tech companies are better positioned in 2023 given the AI competition Google faces.

Read more about:

ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Deborah Yao


Deborah Yao runs the day-to-day operations of AI Business. She is a Stanford grad who has worked at Amazon, Wharton School and Associated Press.

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