This past Thursday, during the company’s quarterly earnings call, Google made an effort to reassure investors and analysts that it is still a leader in developing AI. In light of the potential threat posed by OpenAI’s ChatGPT to Google’s core business, the tech industry and investors were eagerly awaiting the company’s Q4 2022 results.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced on the call that the company would soon begin offering large language models (LLMs) powered by artificial intelligence, such as LaMDA. Pichai announced that users would soon be able to leverage large language models alongside search.
Like ChatGPT, an LLM is a type of deep learning algorithm that can extract knowledge from massive amounts of text data and use it to recognise, summarise, and generate new text and other content. Pichai has stated that the upcoming models are excellent for composing, constructing, and summarising, and that they will soon be available to users.
Pichai believes this will help the company grow and serve “new types of use cases, generative use cases” now that “more direct LLM-type experiences can be integrated in Search.” So, I’m taking this as an opportunity to reimagine and direct Search in a way that will help it address more of the needs of its users. It’s still early, but you can expect to see us take risks, release products, solicit feedback, and iterate in order to improve.
This week, a report surfaced that Microsoft is working to incorporate a faster version of ChatGPT, known as GPT-4, into Bing, which would make the search engine, which currently has only a sliver of search market share, more competitive with Google.
Due to ChatGPT’s rising popularity, Google is reportedly consulting with its original founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to figure out how to best counteract the app’s dangers. According to a recent New York Times article, Page and Brin have held multiple meetings with company executives to discuss their AI strategy.
Pichai told investors and analysts that the technology needs to scale slowly because he considers widespread language use to be in its “early days.” In addition, he assured investors that the company is developing AI with a strong sense of responsibility and that it will be cautious when releasing AI-based products, starting with beta features and gradually increasing the pace of its rollout.
In order to help developers, creators, and partners create their own applications and explore new possibilities with AI, he noted that Google would be providing new tools and APIs.
Google also said it would alter how its DeepMind artificial intelligence division is reported beginning in the first quarter of 2023. Instead of being reported under the Other Bets umbrella, which encompasses long-payoff projects, the segment will now be included in Alphabet’s corporate costs. The shift in reporting “reflects the strategic focus in DeepMind to support each of our segments,” as Alphabet’s chief financial officer Ruth Porat put it.
This action will also show the industry that the company is committed to investing in the growing field of artificial intelligence.
The technology giant announced a Search and AI event for February 8 shortly after the call ended. The event is meant to demonstrate how Google is “using the power of AI to reimagine how people search for, explore, and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever before to find what you need,” as stated in the invite sent to the press. Google Maps, Lens, Shopping, and Translate are all referenced in the invitation.
This unexpected happening is intriguing because Google usually announces new features for Maps, Lens, and other similar products at its annual I/O conference in May. Due to the imminent nature of this event, Google appears to be concentrating on assuring investors that despite recent setbacks, it remains a “AI-first” business.
Pichai stated on the call that artificial intelligence (AI) is the most significant technology the company is developing at the moment. As the AI industry reaches a tipping point, we are in a prime position thanks to our skilled researchers, robust infrastructure, and cutting-edge technology.
I first made the claim that Google is artificial intelligence (AI) first over six years ago. We have since made significant strides in the field of artificial intelligence. It’s only the beginning of our artificial intelligence journey, and the best is yet to come, he said.
In another recent development highlighting Google’s commitment to AI, the company has invested $300 million in AI startup Anthropic. The Financial Times was the first to break the story, and on Friday, Google confirmed the investment to TechCrunch.
Recent AI model release by Anthropic, Claude, is seen as competition for ChatGPT. With this new round of funding, the San Francisco-based firm will be worth somewhere around $5 billion. This comes on the heels of an announcement that Microsoft will be investing multiple billions of dollars in the artificial intelligence company OpenAI. Pichai spent much of the call restating that Google has been investing in AI for a while.
However, despite this reality, the company hasn’t exactly made any headline-grabbing progress in the area. The AI Playground app, for instance, could have been like ChatGPT but is intentionally simplified. PaLM (which stands for Pathways Language Model) is an artificial intelligence language model that was introduced by the company at last year’s I/O. Although this is Google’s largest model to date, the company has not disclosed how it will be used.
Investors are keeping a close eye on Google to see how it deals with the threat posed by ChatGPT, despite the company’s previous assurances. Alphabet stock opened lower today following the release of the company’s disappointing earnings report for the fourth quarter, but the company made up all of its losses by midday.