During a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Google and Alphabet’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, confirmed that the company is developing a new AI-powered search engine to outpace Microsoft and OpenAI. In the interview, he was asked if by embracing Bard and other AI roadmaps, he was killing his cash cow. Pichai stated in response that while search is still important, it is no longer the core of Google’s business since AI has taken center stage.
In recent years, Google has been finding ways to stop relying solely on ad revenue and search and is now focused on using AI for the future of its entire ecosystem. In fact, according to a report from The New York Times, the tech giant’s new search engine aims to do exactly that (kudos: Engadget)!
Sundar Pichai says that AI could be “the most profound technology humanity is working on. More profound than fire, electricity, or anything that we have done in the past”.60 Minutes Interview
The engine, which is being called “Magi” internally (does this explain Bard’s sparkles icon?), is still in the earliest stages of its creation and Google has not stated when it will release. However, it does plan to announce it officially next month. Additionally, the company is aiming to roll out new features for it over time. Do you recall the reports that Bard was being tested in regular Google Search? That’s also still in development, and it’s apparently part of “Magi” as well.
Google is planning to make Magi available to over 30 million users in the U.S. before December, and I can’t help but feel that if this is the next iteration of Bard, but plugged into Search, Chrome, and other Google products directly, it could help pull a lot of users off of ChatGPT and Bing AI where they’ve been gathering up until now. In other words, this could be Google’s late but official fashionable entrance to the AI scene and Bard was just a sampler.
Sundar continues to emphasize that Google is taking its responsibility to make AI something helpful and not harmful to the future of humanity seriously, which goes to better explain why it’s taking so long to roll out its chatbot solutions. While it may have been caught off guard by ChatGPT and Bing AI’s quick rush to the scene, it had nothing harsh to say about the competition’s quick actions. In the 60 Minutes interview, Sundar gave a non-commital answer when asked if these companies were being irresponsible by not taking their time to come to market.
Other mentions of Google’s upcoming efforts include experiments with a Chrome-based chatbot that can answer software engineering questions and create code snippets, and music lyrics, as well as something called “Searchalong”, which will scan the webpage you’re reading to give you contextual information on it. Google has placed 160 employees on this, and if I were to guess, it’s mostly the Assistant team, and the browser Chatbot is likely Bard’s official launch. Microsoft Edge has already integrated Bing AI into the side panel of its browser, so this makes perfect sense to me for Google to come in with its own.
Anyway, this is mostly speculation at this point based on the information we have, but one thing is certain – with Samsung threatening to switch all of its devices to Bing out of the box instead of Google for Search, and with Apple’s contract with Google expiring this year, Google Search is desperately in need of a forward-thinking revamp to remain relevant, even within the company’s own walls.
To wrap up my ramblings, I believe Google is ready to compete and will co-exist with other AI and chatbots on the market. I also believe that Google Assistant will still be called Google Assistant but be powered by Bard instead of the current stupid technology that drives it, and will eventually work with voice commands on smart displays and everywhere else.
Lastly, I believe that Bard, or “the new Assistant” will be integrated into Chrome’s Side Panel as a helpful way to chat and find information intelligently by way of conversation, and appear alongside Google Search, which will just be “The new Google Search”, a.k.a. “Magi”. I seriously doubt Google will get rid of the household and worldwide name it’s carved into history over the past 25 years, and will instead attempt to redefine it for a new era. Let me know in the comments if you agree!