How Generative AI Will Change the Way You Use the Web, From Search to Shopping - Kanebridge News
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How Generative AI Will Change the Way You Use the Web, From Search to Shopping

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

By Sarah E. Needleman
Wed, Oct 18, 2023 10:04amGrey Clock 3 min

People seeking information online will increasingly go first to TikTok, ChatGPT and other applications powered by generative artificial intelligence, instead of using traditional search engines, said Michael Wolf, co-founder and chief executive of consulting firm Activate.

Today, about 13 million U.S. adults begin their web searches by using generative AI, Activate data show. Wolf predicts that will grow to more than 90 million by 2027 because generative AI is capable of providing results with far greater precision and customisation.

“Generative AI fundamentally changes the model for search because the results are no longer links,” said Wolf, who gave a presentation of Activate’s findings at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference on Tuesday. “It serves up your information totally packaged and ready to use.”

Applications rife with customer data will benefit the most from this shift, Wolf said, as they will be better equipped to serve their users with personalised information. He expects TikTok to lead in this area because Activate estimates that its users already spend an average of more than 54 minutes a day on it, compared with 49 minutes daily on YouTube, 33 on Instagram and 31 on Facebook.

Amazon and other major e-commerce platforms have also embraced generative AI to better recommend products for users based on their past behaviour, along with many music- and video-streaming apps, Wolf said.

For example, Spotify earlier this year introduced AI DJ, a feature that offers a curated lineup of music alongside commentary around the tracks and artists that the app thinks users will like. “Choices are being made for you,” Wolf said.

Google and other search engines are also taking advantage of generative AI, yet Wolf said they might not remain the first stop or default option for most people. People are devoting more of their time to social media, entertainment platforms, online videogames and other utility apps that are also embracing the technology.

According to Wolf, domination within the $100 billion search industry is “up for grabs” and large, established companies aren’t necessarily going to outmuscle startups. The rise of open-source AI models is paving a pathway for smaller entrants to potentially make a big impact, he said.

Adoption of generative AI is being driven by a significant increase in the amount of time people spend online—behavior boosted by the pandemic, Activate data show. With people spending more time online, they are becoming adept at using multiple applications at once, enabling them to accomplish more in a single day than would otherwise be possible. Today, the average U.S. adult spends 13 hours daily multitasking among video, audio, games, social media and various technology and media activities.

“AI is making everybody into a metaverse creator,” Wolf said, referring to extensive online worlds where people interact via digital avatars.

Generative AI is poised to disrupt the internet in other ways besides search, such as content creation, Wolf said. By typing simple text prompts into applications featuring the technology, anyone—not just tech-savvy folks who know how to write code—will be able to make videogames, artwork, music and even entire virtual worlds on their own.

More predictions from Wolf’s presentation:

  • Nearly all U.S. households, more than 120 million, will be able to access the internet through their television sets by 2027. Whether people own a smart TV or have a device like Roku, the TV screen will play a bigger role than ever, driving subscriptions for streaming services and capturing valuable viewing data.
  • By 2027, the average video-streaming subscriber will have 5.8 subscriptions, up from 4.9 today. With many such applications now offering the option to see ads in exchange for lower monthly fees, Activate predicts ad revenues across the major video streaming services will grow 25% annually through 2027.
  • Spatial computing—the ability to interact with virtual imagery displayed without obstructing a user’s view of the real world—won’t be limited to pricey virtual- and augmented-reality headsets. The technology will be prevalent on almost any internet-connected device with a screen, from car navigation systems and kitchen appliances to digital door locks and mall kiosks.
  • Online sports betting will continue to grow and evolve. The activity became legal five years ago, and it is now available in 35 states. Activate forecasts that U.S. adults will collectively wager $186 billion annually by 2027, up from about $123 billion today. Another change: Sportsbooks today rely on extensive sign-up and referral bonuses to attract new customers, but going forward retention will be driven by improved betting options and user experiences.
  • While the average U.S. adult will spend 13 hours a day multitasking by 2027, the majority of the time will entail watching video, followed by listening to music, podcasts and other audio, and playing videogames. How consumers will spend this time with technology and media will differ across generations. For example, YouTube and other social-media platforms will become the top destinations for younger adults looking to discover new music, while those over the age of 35 will still rely on the radio.


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Savvy travellers who plan their trips around dining at their destination’s most in-demand restaurants know that securing a reservation at a top Paris eatery isn’t an easy proposition on any given day.

Come the Olympics in July, when the city is flooded with tourists, one would expect the jockey sport to snag a table to be that much more intense. But that’s not necessarily shaping up to be the case. As of mid-May, Parisian insiders such as hotel managers, restaurant owners, and local luxury concierges reported that inquiries at sought-after spots were no higher than usual, foretelling a potential opportunity for visitors looking for a fine-dining experience during the games.

The time to book falls over the next few weeks given that many top spots don’t take reservations until one month before the dining date.

The Michelin-starred Jean Imbert Au Plaza Athenee and Le Relais Plaza, both at Hotel Plaza Athenee and helmed by the renowned French chef Jean Imbert, are two examples.

Francois Delahaye, the COO of the Dorchester Collection, a hospitality company that includes the Plaza Athenee and a second Paris property, Le Meurice, says that his regular guests who are visiting for the games and Parisians who frequent the restaurants know not to call too far in advance of when they want to dine.

Further, he doesn’t foresee reservations being a challenge at either venue or at Le Meurice’s two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse.

“Booking for the restaurants won’t be an issue because people are planning meals at the last minute,” Delahaye says. “Also, the people who are in Paris specifically for the Olympics are here for the games, not to eat at restaurants. They’re not the big-spending clientele that we usually get.”

Delahaye doesn’t expect the kinds of peak crowds that descend on fine dining during Fashion Week each spring and autumn, for example, when trying to land a seat at the three eateries is nearly impossible. “People are fighting to get in,” he says. “You need to book through your hotel’s concierge, have an inside source, or be a hotel or restaurant regular.”

Several Paris luxury concierge companies echoed Delahaye’s perspective

Manuel de Croutte, the founder of Exclusive & Private, says that Paris regulars probably aren’t planning a trip when the Olympics transpire—from July 26 to Aug. 11—because they want to avoid the tourist rush. “We’ve gotten some reservation requests from people who’ve heard about us but not nearly as many as we usually get when the very wealthy travellers are here,” he says.

During peak periods like the French Open or Fashion Week, de Croutte says that his job entails making bookings for travellers who don’t have any other way to get into buzzy or Michelin-starred establishments.

“You’re unlikely to get a table at a see-and-be-seen place without knowing someone,” de Croutte says. “No one picks up the phone or answers email.” He says his team has established relationships with managers and owners of many of the hot spots in Paris and often visits them in person to land tables.

Exclusive & Private’s Black Book of Paris restaurant recommendations for Olympic visitors span a broad range, from casual bistros to fine-dining.

Michelin eateries include the three-star Le Gabriel at La Reserve, the two-star Le Clarence near the Champs-Elysee, and the two-star Le Taillevent.

Spots without a Michelin star but equally notable are also on de Croutte’s list: L’ Ami Jean offers traditional and flavourful southwestern French cuisine, Allard is a brasserie from Alain Ducasse, and Laurent serves French food to a fashionable set.

“My favourite neighbourhood for restaurants is Saint Germain de Pres,” de Croutte says. “You’ll find unassuming but chic names with excellent food and a great vibe. You can book with these places directly if you’re here for the Olympics, but don’t wait until the last minute because they will get filled.”

He also cautions that some Paris eateries are asking for nonrefundable prepayments for reservations during the Olympics.

“Be sure you want to go before committing and ask about the refund policy if you are charged,” he says.

Stephanie Boutet-Fajol, the founder of Sacrebleu Paris, says her bespoke travel company charges a lump sum of about US$750 to make all the restaurant bookings for the Olympic period, though the price varies depending on the dates and the number of restaurants that a client requests. “Reservations around the closing ceremony are harder to come by because that’s when more elite travelers are coming to Paris and want the chic restaurants that are always difficult to get a table at,” she says.

Meanwhile, chefs at some Michelin-starred restaurants share that they have tables available during the Olympics and welcome travellers to their establishments.

Thibaut Spiwack, for one, behind the Michelin-starred Anona, serving modern French cuisine, and the culinary consultant for the popular Netflix series Emily in Paris , says that he is open for reservations.

“My team and I look forward to sharing a culinary experience with new clientele that I hope will remain in their memory,” he says.

Spiwack suggests that travellers check out other worthwhile restaurants where he himself dines. For terrific wine, there’s Lava, and for Italian, he likes Epoca where the pastas are “divine.” Janine is the best bistro in town, and Prima wins for a pizza fix, he says.

“You have a lot of restaurants in Paris to pick from,” Spiwack says. “You just need to determine where you want to go, and book as soon as you can.”