The internet has not been the same since the influx of conversational AI products powered by large language models earlier this year, most especially ChatGPT by OpenAI. This has set the conversations about almost everything to be centred around AI integration.
The most interesting part is that while many would have thought a mainstream AI product would have come from the acclaimed most powerful AI company—Google, it has rather come from OpenAI instead, a company which started earlier as a non-profit but has now rebranded into a for-profit company and partnered with Microsoft, Google's foremost competitor on search.
The rise of these consumer AIs has posed a challenge to the business model and entire product of search engines, as the new conversational AIs are reducing the user journey towards getting answers on the web by providing straightforward answers to user queries instead of lists of links.
This new trend has created new conversations at Big tech companies around the world, with reports saying that the Google executive team has declared a code red on AI.
Google I/O is an annual developer conference held by Google in Mountain View, California, where they officially announce new products or changes to their existing products first to the developers' community.
This year 2023 Google I/O conference was headlined by Sundar Pichai, Google CEO with the key announcements all centred around "AI—artificial intelligence". Here are the key products that were announced at the event:
Help Me Write
One of the first things CEO Sundar Pichai announced and demonstrated at the event is the launch of a generative ai software called Help Me Write, the feature will help to assist Gmail users in writing and replying to emails faster.
Immersive Route View On Google Maps
Say you want to go from one destination to another in Lagos, and Google Maps shows you a couple of options you can take to get to your destination from your starting point. Immersive view for routes is a new generative AI feature on Maps that helps you to see your whole trip in advance, CEO Sundar Pichai said they are bringing this feature to further the goal of helping people get to where they want to go with Google Maps.
Magic Editor on Google Photos
Another product Google said they are making better with AI is Google Photos, with their new AI advancements, it is bringing a feature called Magic Editor to Google Photos that will help users edit and improve parts of images they took in a way they have not been able to do before.
PaLM 2, The Latest PaLM Model
Last year, Google announced PaLM (Pathway language model), a next-generation large language model which they claimed to have built on their legacy breakthrough research in machine learning and responsible AI.
Having used the model to make improvements across their products, they are releasing PaLM 2 which is based on fundamental research and their latest infrastructure.
DeepMind and Gemini
Google recently brought together their two world-class AI-focused teams; the brain team from Google Research and DeepMind to form a single unit called Google Deepmind. Using their combined resources, they aim to build more advanced and responsible AIs like Gemini, their next-generation foundational model which is still in training.
Bard running on PaLM 2
With the influx of large language models on the internet. This year, Google launched Bard, a ChatGPT-like conversational AI product with limited access in order to get feedback and iterate.
Google has announced that they are upgrading Bard to run on PaLM 2, which will give it maths, logic and reasoning capabilities. Bard can also now do things like Code generation, code debugging and explanation having learned more than 20 programming languages.
Bard will also have features like code citations, integration with tools, exports, dark mode and additional language support. Finally, the waitlist has been removed and it will now be publicly available for 180+ countries.
Duet AI on WorkSpace and Cloud
Google is bringing an AI collaborator to Workspace so that you don’t only collaborate with people but also have an AI which will act as a coach and thought partner. Apart from the Help Me Write feature which has been rolled out for testers on Docs and Gmail, all of the other generative AI features will be available together later this year to Workspace users via a new service called Duet AI for Workspace.
The Duet AI feature is also coming to Google Cloud to pair with developers as an expert collaborating with them to help execute their work faster and easier.
Search Generative Experience
As search is its core product, Google is bringing generative experience to it such that for a single query you will get a new integrated search result page that will give you straight answers to your questions as opposed to a list of links.
This feature called search generative experience is built on its ranking system and it comes with citations from publishers. Its purpose is to make the search simpler and smarter.
Vertex AI and Enterprise Search
To help individual developers and full-scale enterprise teams take more advantage of their AI models, Google is introducing Vertex AI which gives you access to foundational models for chats, texts and images that you can fine-tune to develop your own applications.
It is also releasing Enterprise Search to help companies retrieve fresh and factual information from their databases, corporate internet and enterprise applications.=
Over the last few weeks, said Josh Woodward, engineers at Google worked together on a concept they called Project Tailwind (not to be confused with Tailwind CSS).
They think of it as an AI-first notebook that helps you learn faster. It works by picking files from your Google Drive that efficiently creates a personalised and private conversational AI model that has expertise in the information you have given it. It is a learning tool that is not just for students, but also for writers, lawyers and researchers.
To crown all the new generative ai features, Google is giving users a way to preview some of the experiences across Workspaces and other products before it is made public via a new portal called Google Labs.
Android New Features
Google is also bringing lots of new features to its Android platform which runs on more than 3 billion devices such as updates to the find my device feature that will make it work with other devices in helping you recover a misplaced or lost device easily and a new feature called Unknown tracker alert that will notify you if an unknown tracker tag is moving with you and help you to identify it.
The Google I/O 2023 conference was fully about the new generative AI features Google is bringing to both its software and hardware products. Google is rolling out tons of products and features that will help maintain its stand in the ecosystem.
You can watch a recap of the live event here.