Amazon is building an AI-powered “conversational experience” for search

Amazon presents these changes to search as absolutely huge. “This will be a one-time transformation for Search, just as the Mosaic browser made the web easier three decades ago,” Amazon wrote. “If you missed the 90s – WWW, Mosaic, and the creation of Amazon and Google – you don’t want to miss this opportunity.” And we may see 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 want to buy something with specific parameters. And last week, Google showed how its new AI-powered Search Generative Experience can do just that create buying guides with a single search. Amazon certainly doesn’t want to lose ground in the field of shopping, so it’s not surprising that the company wants to introduce its own chatbot soon.

That said, it’s unclear when this new experience will actually be released or what it might look like. When asked for comment, Amazon spokesperson Keri Bertolino shared only this: “We are making significant investments 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 that good. (In our March comparison, ChatGPT generally beat Microsoft’s Bing and Google’s Bard.)

Still, it seems very likely that conversational shopping will be coming to Amazon in the not-too-distant future, so you might as well prepare for the Amazon search experience to get even messier. Hopefully, Amazon will make this new experience optional, as Google is for its own generative AI search.