It looks like Amazon will be joining the chatbot fray. As spotted by Bloomberg, the company has posted job listings describing how it is “reimagining Amazon Search” with a new “interactive conversational experience that helps you find answers to product questions, perform product comparisons, receive personalized product suggestions, and so much more,” according to a listing for a machine learning-focused engineer. You can see another cached job listing here.
Amazon is pitching these changes to search as absolutely massive. “This will be a once in a generation transformation for Search, just like the Mosaic browser made the Internet easier to engage with three decades ago,” Amazon wrote. “If you missed the 90s—WWW, Mosaic, and the founding of Amazon and Google—you don’t want to miss this opportunity.” And we might be seeing the changes sooner rather than later, as Amazon wants to “deliver this vision to our customers right away.”
It’s understandable why Amazon seems to be racing here. A chatbot can be a useful starting point when you’re looking to buy something with specific parameters. And just last week, Google showed how its new AI-powered Search Generative Experience can create buying guides from a single search. Amazon certainly doesn’t want to lose any ground in shopping, so it’s not surprising that the company wants to introduce its own chatbot very soon.
That said, it’s unclear when this new experience might actually be released or what it might look like. When we asked for comment, Amazon spokesperson Keri Bertolino only shared this: “We are significantly investing in generative AI across all of our businesses.” And given the general state of AI chatbots right now, I’m not confident the chatbot will be all that good. (In our comparison from March, ChatGPT generally beat out Microsoft’s Bing and Google’s Bard.)
Still, it seems extremely likely that conversational shopping is coming to Amazon in the not-too-distant future, so you might as well get prepared for the search experience on Amazon to get even more cluttered. Hopefully Amazon makes this new experience optional, like Google is for its own generative AI search.