Google does a lot of things nowadays;
What’s worse, in all of the atrophy of the Google Search experience, the tech giant has profited enormously off of the exact things that make finding valuable information such a nightmare. In 2022, for example, the company brought in an eye-watering $162.45 billion on search ads alone — well more than half of its overall revenue.
If it seems like maybe Google has been dragging its feet on addressing the problems that its new and improved generative AI is here to fix, there might be a reason why.
And while Google had fallen asleep at the wheel, competitors like Microsoft have decided to step in and mix up the field. Microsoft’s Bing, a next-gen chatbot-enabled search experience powered by a deep integration with OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, has all but shaken Google to its core.
I know, it’s hard to imagine a search giant as institutional as Google being rattled, even by a fellow tech giant like Microsoft, but various reports over the past few months since Bing unveiled its chatbot-centric search have suggested that’s exactly what has transpired inside Google’s hallowed AI walls.
Those reports suggest that since Microsoft has leaned into its chatbot-powered Bing, Google has been scrambling to whip up a suitable rebuttal in the form of Bard, a similar chatbot powered by Google’s own PaLM Large Language Model (LLM).
In any event, Google, judging by the massive dump of new AI features on its I/O stage, is now fully awake at its driver-seat position of internet search and is ready to do some reckoning. Hopefully, we’ll all be better off for it.
And in fairness, some of Google’s current pitfalls are innate to the massive nature of the internet we enjoy today — misinformation, for example — but some of them have been a product of Google itself.
If that’s the case, forgive me for not seeing generative AI as a bold breakthrough in creating a simpler next-gen search experience, and more as an epiphany — a tech giant taking a sober, long-overdo look at the entropic product it’s created, grabbing a broom, and deciding to finally get to work.