ChatGPT continues to stun the tech world as its user base grows exponentially. The artificial intelligence tool that can provide human-like answers to questions has terrified Google. The company is rushing to build its own chatbots in an effort to prop up its internet search dominance. Those ChatGPT-like Google products might be demoed this spring. But before that happens, ChatGPT will continue to dominate the news cycle.

According to new research, the OpenAI chatbot might have reached and surpassed the 100 million monthly active user milestone in January. This would make ChatGPT more viral than TikTok and Instagram, which needed much more time to reach 100 million monthly users.

ChatGPT launched in December and quickly reached an estimated 57 million monthly users during the month. The data comes from investment bank UBS, as CBS News reports.

UBS’s research indicates that ChatGPT surpassed 100 million monthly users in January. The service averages 13 million unique visitors a day, the same firm said.

As Reuters notes, this is a record for the fastest user growth of any app in history.

TikTok needed nine months to get 100 million monthly users. For Instagram, the road was even longer, taking two and a half years to boast 100 million monthly active users. The report notes that Google Translate needed six years to reach the same figure.

The comparison isn’t necessarily objective. ChatGPT is a bigger sensation because of the things it can do. The AI chatbot can answer questions, write text, help with coding tasks, and pass exams. These are just a few examples of ChatGPT’s growing capabilities.

TikTok sign
The TikTok logo is displayed outside a TikTok office on December 20, 2022, in Culver City, California. Image source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Moreover, OpenAI continues to develop the chatbot tool, which is only in its nascent days. That’s why ChatGPT isn’t a Google Search killer just yet. It can still deliver incomplete or wrong information. This explains why Google has been hesitant to incorporate such a tool into its Search product. But that was before ChatGPT’s meteoric rise.

“This is the fastest consumer application I have seen to hit 100 million monthly active users in my career covering this space,” UBS equities analyst Lloyd Walmsley told CBS MoneyWatch. “The ramp has been extraordinary.”

It’ll be interesting to see if ChatGPT can keep up the growth. Whatever the case, OpenAI is already testing a ChatGPT Plus service that costs $20 per month.

As competitors arrive, ChatGPT might lose some of its initial user base. Google is reportedly working on similar products, which are in tests internally. We might see full demos at Google I/O this spring. And maybe Google will want to roll out public beta versions of its ChatGPT-like products by then. That’s just speculation, however. Google definitely has the reach to steal plenty of users from ChatGPT, though.

What seems to be clear is that products like ChatGPT will be incredibly popular in the future. And UBS’s Walmsley believes we’re looking at a $1 trillion market.

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