ChatGPT or Google: Which gives the best answers?

A new study puts ChatGPT and Google to the test to see which is the smartest. The results are surprising.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Google vs ChatGPT graphic showing both logos and a medal in the middle
Image: Preply

ChatGPT keeps growing in popularity because of its advanced conversational and technical capabilities. You can ask the chatbot any question you'd like, and it will output an answer within seconds. Google Search can also help you find answers to your questions. While it's not a search engine, should you be using ChatGPT as your go-to source for information instead of Google?

Also: 6 things ChatGPT can't do (and another 20 it refuses to do)

Preply, a tutoring marketplace for language learning, tested ChatGPT and Google's "intelligence" by asking a series of questions and analyzing their responses. The answers were measured using criteria that included context, details, efficiency, functionality, impartialness, and more. Here is how they both performed. 

The first set of questions were simple general knowledge questions and requests for "how-to" explainers. Some of the questions included, "How to tie a tie?", "Who is the president of the United States?", and "How many ounces in a cup?"

ChatGPT's inability to access information published after 2021 made Google the winner for this section, since the search engine could provide more current and concise information. Surprisingly, the odds shifted against Google as the questions become more complex. 

Also: The best AI chatbots: ChatGPT and other fun alternatives to try

The set of intermediate questions was more convoluted and often subjective in nature, covering topics that required a less straightforward answer and more in-depth explanation. These questions included, "What's the best dog breed?", and "How to lose weight fast?"

Table showing ChatGPT vs Google answers
Image: Preply

ChatGPT won this section by 15 to six. The chatbot's ability to provide answers in a human-like format, with context and in-depth explanations, makes it a more ideal tool for abstract or complex questions that require more than a simple answer. 

"ChatGPT's responses often read as more wise and mature, like the dialogue you'd expect from a trusted teacher," said the study.

Also: 5 ChatGPT productivity hacks

"Trusted" is a key word to keep in mind -- ChatGPT is designed to give answers in an authoritative tone, delivering information that sounds plausible but might not be entirely right.

The advanced questions were more thought-provoking in nature with existential themes such as, "Is God real?", and "What is the meaning of life?" According to Preply's metrics, ChatGPT won, seven to four, providing more thoughtful and detailed responses. While it's impossible to answer the question, "Is God real?", Preply explained ChatGPT's victory this way:

explanation of why ChatGPT gives a better answer to the question "is god real"
Image: Preply

The results of the 40 questions earned ChatGPT a victory of 23 to 16 with one tie. The thoughtfulness and context enabled the chatbot to outperform Google in both intermediate and advanced questions, despite not having access to current information. If the chatbot ever were to connect to the internet, given these results, it is fair to conclude that it might surpass Google search's capabilities. 

Microsoft announced its AI-improved Bing, which incorporates ChatGPT into the search engine. Once the improved Bing is available to the public, it will give users a glimpse into the future of search engines. 

Editorial standards