After the launch of ChatGPT, a new generation of language model that interacts in a conversational manner, it is actually embarrassing for Google, which has been preaching that conversational search is the future for many years.
As people have been testing ChatGPT and sharing screenshots to social platforms recently, ChatGPT’s reputation has skyrocketed, far surpassing Google’s LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications).
LaMDA, if the reader has any impression, is the chatbot that the former Google engineer claims has sentience.
Whether Google is now missing out on the competition is not an easy question to answer for now because Google might already have a hidden competitor AI chat robot project.
This is an example of a company that is so careful about its business, reputation, and customer relationships that it hasn’t released a similar, or even more powerful, product just yet.
Former Google AI product manager Gaurav Nemade was the first to lead LaMDA products.
“Google thinks a lot about how certain things can damage their reputation, and they tend to be conservative,” he said on his personal blog.
One of the current problems with chatbots is that they often make mistakes in their answers, but they give answers with undue confidence.
Leading people astray is not ideal for a company that is based on finding the right answer; plus, there are business model issues to contend with.
So LaMDA is still in the research stage, and people can only use the less powerful Google Assistant.
At Google’s most recent all-hands meeting, employees raised concerns about the company’s competitive advantage in Artificial Intelligence and chatbots.
Someone asked “Is this a missed opportunity for Google, considering we’ve been using LaMDA for a while?” After all, Google’s core business is web search.
And it has always been advertised as a pioneer in the field of AI; however, ChatGPT instantly became popular, and its volume is far better than LaMDA.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, and Jeff Dean, the long-time head of Google’s AI department, answered questions.
They said that the company certainly has the ability to be similar to ChatGPT, but if there is a problem with the launch of the chat robot,
The cost is probably higher because people believe all the answers they get are from Google.
Pichai also said that Google has a lot of plans in this area in 2023. “This is an area where we need to be bold and responsible, so we have to balance that.”
Dean told employees that so far Google’s AI technology has been mainly used internally.
And emphasize that companies have to take more reputational risks and may be more conservative than small start-ups.
“We definitely want to bring these things into the product, and apply it to the product where the language model is more prominent, rather than hidden behind the scenes But it’s super important to get this right.” he said.
ChatGPT: A real Competitor to Google?
Morgan Stanley’s report published on the 12th studies whether ChatGPT poses a threat to Google.
On the downside for Google, Brian Nowak, the lead analyst covering Alphabet, wrote in the report:
Language models have market share considerations, and ChatGPT could undermine Google’s position as an entry point for web users.
Still, Novak expressed confidence in Google, which is continuing to improve its search service and that changing people’s behavior is a huge hurdle for any new technology and competition.
Google is building natural language models like LaMDA, and one can expect more products to come.