How Google Responds to the ChatGPT Threat
Dusseldorf The world’s most visited website is facing major changes: the Internet giant Google announced on Wednesday that it would integrate the latest generation of artificial intelligence (AI) into numerous products. The group’s search engine should be able to summarize findings from various sources in one answer for complex questions.
“Many people use Google because they need quick, factual answers,” said Google manager Prabhakar Raghavan, who is responsible for the search engine, at a presentation in Paris. In many cases, however, there is no one right answer – it is a matter of exploring a topic.
The basis for the question-answer format is an intelligent chatbot that Google has dubbed “Bard”, in German: bard. CEO Sundar Pichai spoke in a blog entry of an “experimental conversation service with AI” – similar to the ChatGPT program, which has made headlines in recent weeks.
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Google showed some examples of the new technology on stage. Users can have the search engine weigh arguments for and against an electric car or search for a route with vantage points. However, the company did not give many details – it devoted a large part of the presentation to AI applications that are known in principle.
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The program, which was apparently put together in a hurry, gives an idea of how much the Internet company alphabet, whose main entity is Google, is under pressure. The market leader in Internet search has to react to growing competition – the management is said to have declared a “Code Red” internally, i.e. a red alert.
Because: competitor Microsoft announced on Tuesday evening that to integrate technology from the ChatGPT developer OpenAI into their own search engine Bing. CEO Satya Nadella calls for a “race”. At the same time, start-ups like You.com and Neeva are working on concepts to rethink Internet search.
Google’s billion-dollar internet search business
So far, Google has been a virtual monopolist when it comes to Internet searches: According to a survey by the statistical service Statcounter, the company answers 93 percent of all search queries worldwide. With a market share of just three percent Microsoft already number two with the Bing service. The deal brought in $42.6 billion last year, 56 percent of group sales.
However, a new generation of AI has the potential to transform many areas of the economy, including internet search. Large language models such as GPT-3, which OpenAI developed, can summarize information and generate text on command.
Google sees itself as a leader in development. Six years ago, management aligned the entire company to AI technology. At the presentation in Paris, the group showed several application examples, such as the translation of texts and the recognition of objects in photos.
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However, Google has so far shied away from publishing intelligent chatbots. The management emphasizes that they want to achieve high standards for quality, safety and realism. Internally, one should also ask how the new technology affects the advertising-financed business model.
Google is also exercising caution with the current initiative. First, a version for “trusted testers” will be released. According to a report by the TV broadcaster CNBC, CEO Sundar Pichai has also asked his own employees to test the technology intensively. The service should only be widely available “in the coming weeks”.
It’s not the company’s only initiative. Google has according to a report by the Financial Times invested around 300 million dollars in the start-up Anthropic, which is active in the field of generative artificial intelligence. In return, the group will receive around ten percent of the shares. The companies also announced a cloud partnership. The construction is similar to Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI.
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First publication: 08.02.2023, 4:16 p.m.