Google AI in search: From stalling to scrambling?

Google AI in search: From stalling to scrambling?

Google AI in search: From stalling to scrambling?

Did Google move too slowly with AI and now they’re scrambling to put AI into everything? Two new reports paint two entirely different pictures of Google before – and since – the launch of ChatGPT.

The Google search revolution that never happened. Two Google researchers created a chatbot that supposedly would “revolutionize the way people searched the internet and interacted with computers,” more than two years ago, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

But executives were reportedly risk-averse, fearing putting out the AI product could hurt its $200 billion+ search advertising business and its reputation. And sure enough, Google took a significant reputational hit with its rushed Bard debut.

What are Google’s AI principles? Google believes AI applications should:

  1. Be socially beneficial.
  2. Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias.
  3. Be built and tested for safety.
  4. Be accountable to people.
  5. Incorporate privacy design principles.
  6. Uphold high standards of scientific excellence.
  7. Be made available for uses that accord with these principles.

And along came OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Code Red. We reported on Google declaring a “code red” and seeking help from founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. This was part of an effort to add chatbot features to Google Search this year.

Google introduced Bard, it’s answer to ChatGPT, on Feb. 6. And since then, Google has tried to clarify that Bard is not search. The AI-powered chatbot features coming to search are based on similar technology, but Bard is a standalone product.

Google AI = the new Google Plus? Google is now reportedly “stuffing” generative AI into more products, according to Bloomberg:

“Some Google alumni have been reminded of the last time the company implemented an internal mandate to infuse every key product with a new idea: the effort beginning in 2011 to promote the ill-fated social network Google+. It’s not a perfect comparison—Google was never seen as a leader in social networking, while its expertise in AI is undisputed. Still, there’s a similar feeling.”

Google pushed back on this, saying much of Google’s internal efforts involve having Googlers test and improve Bard. One Googler also told Bloomberg:

  • “There is an unhealthy combination of abnormally high expectations and great insecurity about any AI-related initiative.”

Why we care. Is Google panicking or moving too slowly? Both could be true – or the actual truth may be somewhere more in the middle, where Google is really living by its AI principles. Call it a slow rush – as Google can afford to sit back right now and watch and learn from Bing and other generative AI players and avoid any costly mistakes.

The post Google AI in search: From stalling to scrambling? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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