The buzz around ChatGPT has reportedly caught Google by surprise, leading CEO Sundar Pichai to issue a “red alert” and bring company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin back as consultants. According to the New York Times, the pair reviewed Google’s AI strategy and proposed new AI functions for the search engine. In response, Google plans to launch over 20 new AI-related products, including a search engine with a chatbot.
As reported by CNBC on January 31st, 2023, Google is actively seeking to challenge the rising popularity of ChatGPT by having its employees test potential competitors, including a chatbot called “Apprentice Bard.” This move shows the tech giant’s determination to stay ahead in the AI race and not fall behind its rivals.
DeepMind’s “Sparrow” Project:
Google’s subsidiary, DeepMind, specializes in AI and works on a chatbot called “Sparrow,” similar to ChatGPT. Although DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis recently announced a limited beta test for this year, Google may push for quicker results.
Reactivating the Founders:
The fact that Page and Brin, who developed Google’s search engine, have been brought back to advance Google’s AI efforts shows how urgent the company feels about recapturing lost ground in the AI space.
Competition from Microsoft:
Google’s renewed focus on AI is likely due to increased competition from Microsoft, which invested one billion dollars in OpenAI in 2019 and is reportedly planning to invest another ten billion and increase its stake to 49%.
Job Cuts and AI Focus:
Google’s parent company Alphabet has announced job cuts, with around 12,000 positions to be eliminated worldwide, equivalent to about 6% of the workforce. Despite the reductions, AI is now a top priority for the company, as Pichai indicated that the core business would be strengthened while other activities are scaled back. Other tech giants, including Microsoft and Amazon, have also made significant job cuts in recent years.
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