Google earlier this week said it is opening Bard, a rival to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, to 180 countries as it expands use of artificial intelligence across its platform.
Executives at an annual Google developers conference in Silicon Valley said that generative AI will also be used to supercharge the tech giant’s leading search engine.
“We have been applying AI for a while, with generative AI we are taking the next step,” Google chief executive Sundar Pichai told thousands of developers gathered for the event. “We are reimagining all our core products, including search,” he said.
Racing to Catch in Search
Google is racing to catch up with rival Microsoft, which has rushed to integrate ChatGPT-like powers in a wide array of its products, including the Bing search engine.
Microsoft’s dash into AI came despite fears about the technology’s potential threat to society, including its impact on the spread of disinformation and whether it could make whole categories of jobs obsolete.
Cathy Edwards of Google Search said the new experience would be akin to a search that is “supercharged” by a conversational bot. Other Google executives laid out how generative AI is being woven into Gmail, photo editing, online work tools and more.
The company’s AI efforts would be carried out in a “bold and responsible” way, senior product director Jack Krawczyk said during a briefing. Google’s expansion meant it removed a waitlist for Bard, letting users around the world engage with it in English after months of testing it out in the US and Britain.
How Would Your Search Engine Change?
When it comes to searching, the act of “Googling” something is about to undergo the most drastic transformations you’ve ever witnessed, as per USA Today. The capacity to summarise vast volumes of information in a very compact manner is one of the most amazing features of the technology underlying generative AI. In practise, this means that it can take data from numerous sources and stitch it all together to offer you exactly what you want in a single response. Furthermore, it opens up the option of making exceedingly comprehensive requests and receiving incredibly detailed responses.
The report asked people to consider a scenario of organising a vacation trip. Traditionally, the report says, you’d probably start by looking for things to do in that area, followed by someplace to stay. Following that, it may look for decent restaurants in the vicinity. Then you’d go through tens or hundreds of connections, carefully piecing together some type of itinerary.
You’ll be able to ask Google for a five-day plan for a family of four that covers all the events and all the restaurants, while accommodating youngsters who only eat spaghetti and parents who want excellent cocktails at night. Surprisingly, it can achieve all of this in a single response.
If your searches are centred on purchasing, the upgraded Google will not only give you advice on the best options for as detailed a request as you’d like to make, but it will also supply ancillary information on how to best use or accomplish whatever is relevant for what you’re buying.
What’s particularly noteworthy about these new search capabilities is that they arouse a desire to conduct additional research on a subject. It’s lot easier (and more pleasant) to delve a little further into any given subject, making the internet’s immense resources much more useful than they’ve ever been.
When you ask the new AI-powered version of Bing a question, it responds with the answer. This differs from how we’ve typically used search engines, in which you get a slew of results and must judge the various links shown to you before selecting the best one.
The issue with the AI version of Bing, in my opinion, is that you have to trust it to give you the correct answer. You do not gather the information and make the decision on your own. AI is not always correct, but it is learning and becoming wiser, Forbes said in a report.
Google’s announcements came a week after rival Microsoft expanded public access to its generative artificial intelligence programs, which are powered by models made by OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.
“This could be a defining moment in the AI battle with Google and Microsoft going head-to-head for market share,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.
Microsoft’s early investment in OpenAI gave it a head start “in this Game of Thrones Battle for Big Tech with Google now playing major catchup mode,” the analyst added.
AI-enhanced features of Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Edge internet browser recently became open for anyone.
The services have been enhanced with the ability to work with images as well as text, and Microsoft intends to add video to the mix.
Despite the rollouts by two of the world’s biggest companies, risks from AI include its potential uses for disinformation, with voice clones, deep-fake videos and convincing written messages.
A range of experts in March urged a pause in the development of powerful AI systems to allow time to make sure they are safe.
Their open letter, signed by more than 1,000 people, including billionaire Elon Musk and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, was prompted by generative AI technology from Microsoft-backed firm OpenAI.
A prominent computer scientist often dubbed “the godfather of artificial intelligence” recently quit his job at Google to speak out about the dangers of the technology.
Geoffrey Hinton, who created some of the technology underlying AI systems, maintained that the existential threat from AI is “serious and close.”
With inputs from AFP
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