Google is planning to integrate more artificial intelligence (AI) features into its search engine to enhance its chat feature and allow it to interact with users in a more conversational, human-like manner, according to CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai denied any notion that chatbots posed a threat to Google's search business, which accounts for over half of the company's revenue. Instead, he explained that the addition of AI would enable the tool to answer a wider range of search queries.
Microsoft recently released an enhanced version of its Bing search engine, which is now powered by ChatGPT, an AI-powered bot created by technology research firm OpenAI. The ChatGPT launch generated buzz in the tech community for its ability to generate human-like text, including emails, summaries, essays, outlines, reports, computer code, and creative writing pieces.
Despite Google's focus on AI, Pichai indicated that the tech company is committed to competing against companies like Microsoft-backed OpenAI and its chatbot, ChatGPT. Google launched its own AI chatbot, Bard, earlier this year for an exclusive group of "trusted testers" before its complete rollout in March. Pichai said Bard "seeks to combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models" and "draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses."
The AI boom comes at a time when multiple tech companies, including Google, have taken measures to cut costs. Google laid off 12,000 workers in January and recently announced it would cut back on some employee perks like fitness classes and spending on equipment, including company-issued laptops. Despite the cost-cutting measures, Pichai indicated that he welcomes competition from other companies and sees the opportunity space for AI as bigger than before.