Google tries to reassure investors about AI progress as ChatGPT breathes down its neck • TechCrunch
Google worked to reassure investors and analysts on Thursday during its quarterly earnings call that it is still a leader in AI development. The company’s fourth quarter 2022 results were highly anticipated as investors and the tech industry awaited Google’s response to the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which could threaten its core business.
During the call, Google CEO Sundar Pichai discussed the company’s plans to make AI-based large language models (LLMs) like LaMDA available in the coming weeks and months. Pichai said users will soon be able to use large language models as a search companion. An LLM, like ChatGPT, is a deep learning algorithm that can recognize, summarize, and generate text and other knowledge-based content from massive amounts of textual data. Pichai said the templates that users will soon be able to use are particularly good at composing, constructing and summarizing.
“Now that we can incorporate more direct LLM-like experiences into research, I think it will help us develop and serve new types of use cases, generative use cases,” Pichai said. “And so, I think I see this as a chance to rethink and reimagine and drive the research to also solve more use cases for our users. This is just the beginning, but you’ll see us demonstrate bold, post things, get feedback, iterate and improve things.”
Pichai’s comments on ChatGPT’s potential rival come as a report emerged this week that Microsoft is working to integrate a faster version of ChatGPT, known as GPT-4, into Bing, in as part of a move that would make its search engine, which today only has a share of the search market, more competitive with Google. ChatGPT’s popularity has seen Google turn to co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin for help in combating the potential threat. The New York Times recently reported that Page and Brin had several meetings with executives to strategize on the company’s AI plans.
During the call, Pichai warned investors and analysts that the technology will have to evolve slowly and that he considers heavy use of the language to be still in its “early stages.” He also said that the company develops AI with a deep sense of responsibility and that it will be careful when launching AI-based products as the company plans to initially release beta features and then expand. slowly from there.
He went on to note that Google will provide new tools and APIs for developers, creators and partners to enable them to build their own apps and discover new possibilities with AI.
Additionally, Google announced that starting in the first quarter of 2023, the company will change its reporting structure for its DeepMind AI segment. The segment will now be reported as part of Alphabet’s business costs, instead of being reported under the Other Bets umbrella, which includes long-term projects. Alphabet’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, said the change in reporting “reflects DeepMind’s strategic direction to support each of our segments.”
The move is also meant to signal to the industry that the company is seriously considering investing in the AI space.
Shortly after the call, the tech giant revealed that it was hosting a search and AI event on February 8. The goal of the event is to show how Google is “using the power of AI to reinvent the way people find, explore and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever to find what you need. need,” according to an invitation sent to reporters. The invitation also includes tips on Google Maps, Lens, Shopping and Translate.
Google usually shares updates on Maps, Lens, and other similar products at its I/O conference in May, which makes this new surprise event interesting. Because it’s just days away, it looks like Google is focused on addressing threats to its core business and reassuring investors that it’s still an “AI-first” company. “.
“AI is the deepest technology we’re working on today,” Pichai said on the call. “Our talented researchers, infrastructure and technology position us extremely well as AI reaches an inflection point. More than six years ago, I first spoke of Google as a company focused on AI. Since then, we have been a leader in the development of AI. We are only at the beginning of our journey towards AI and the best is yet to come,” he said. he declares.
Another new development showing Google’s focus on AI is the news that it is investing $300 million in AI startup Anthropic. The news was first reported by the Financial Times and Google confirmed the investment to TechCrunch on Friday. Claude, the AI model recently launched by Anthropic, is considered a rival of ChatGPT. The new funding will value the San Francisco-based company at approximately $5 billion. The news comes as Microsoft recently announced a multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI.
Throughout the call, Pichai reiterated that Google has been investing in AI for several years now.
While that’s true, the company hasn’t really made much noticeable progress in the space publicly. For example, the company has the AI Playground app, which had the potential to be like ChatGPT, but was purposely limited. The company also unveiled an AI language model called PaLM, which stands for Pathways Language Model, at I/O last year. It’s the company’s largest model to date, but Google has yet to share its plans for the model or how it will operate.
Despite Google’s assurances, investors are now watching closely to see how the search giant responds to the looming threat posed by ChatGPT. Although Alphabet shares opened lower today after the company released a disappointing fourth quarter earnings report, the company recouped all of its losses by midday.