June 14, 2024

Google is building more artificial intelligence into its products

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Google President Sundar Pichai at the Google I/O developer conference © Andrej Sokolow / dpa

OpenAI ChatGPT’s script bot made Google search look outdated. But the network giant does not want to leave its billion-euro business without a fight. The AI ​​race to catch up is on, even if users in Germany and the European Union are initially left out.

Mountain View – In the race for artificial intelligence, Google is upgrading its services with new functions – and at the same time promising a prudent approach to do no harm. In addition to the search engine, other applications such as mail, office software and maps will be improved using artificial intelligence, CEO Sundar Pichai announced at the Google I/O developer conference.

One consequence of this cautious approach is that, for example, the Google Bard chatbot will be available in German, but initially neither in Germany nor in the European Union. It is clear that the US group is trying to clarify whether Bard is compatible with the legal framework in the European Union.

Google has been working on AI-based applications for years, but is currently under pressure to reveal more of them. At the end of last year, startup OpenAI kicked off a new AI competition when it made its ChatGPT chatbot public. The program has caused a stir because it can form sentences like a human. They are trained on massive amounts of data and estimate word for word how a sentence might go. This carries the risk that it can give out completely false information.

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Google’s archenemy Microsoft has a multi-billion dollar agreement with OpenAI and is bringing AI software into its applications across the board. Google has so far been reluctant to do so, citing responsible use of technology and regulatory requirements.

Google wants to act responsibly

The group confirmed this cycle at Google I/O. “The only way to be bold in the long term is to be responsible from the start,” said James Manica, Google’s social officer for AI deployments. The group sees the risk that software can reinforce biases or be used to produce and spread false information. To protect against this, files created with the help of artificial intelligence, for example, must be provided with metadata so that they can be instantly recognizable.

Manica said Google will also provide only certified developers with software that can automatically create dubbed versions of videos. This is to prevent so-called deepfakes with the alleged actions of real people.

At the same time, Manica emphasized that Google decided years ago not to make interfaces for facial recognition apps available to the public. When AI is used responsibly, everyone involved must work together.

Among other things, Pichai demonstrated how the software could craft a speech for the user. He also showed how users in the Google Photos app can not only remove unwanted objects and people, but also change their position in a photo, for example. If you write a story, the program should be able to offer suggestions for more story twists and auto-generated illustrations.

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Innovations in Internet search

There are major innovations in Google’s most important product – Internet search. With the help of artificial intelligence, the search engine should be able to answer the question of which of the two nature parks is most suitable for a family with children and a dog. The answers are formulated in complete sentences, in addition to the usual internet links.

When searching for a bike, in addition to advice on things like suspension, matching offers from dealers are also shown. In addition, one could be asked about the rules for hand signals when cycling in California, for example, said Google director Cathy Edwards. “These are things you would never have asked for on a mission before.”

Google still does most of its business through ads in the Internet’s search environment. Most advertisers pay to have the search query links appear at the top of the screen. So far, an open question is what impact the prevalence of AI-based detailed answers will have on this business model. Pichai said Google has been working with AI for years.

A new language paradigm as competition

Google introduced a new language model called Palm 2 for new AI capabilities to compete against OpenAI’s GPT-4. Palm 2 can master more than 100 languages ​​and brings writing, programming and analysis skills with it. In the future, Google’s chatbot will also be based on the Palm 2.

Google’s text bot, which until now was only available for trial in the US and UK, will be available in 180 countries in English, Korean and Japanese. However, in European Union countries, Bard will not be available at the moment, including Germany. However, support for German and 39 other languages ​​will follow soon.

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At the developer conference, Google also introduced three devices. On the other hand, the group introduced the Pixel Fold smartphone, which can be folded to the size of a small tablet, which competes with the Samsung Galaxy Fold and similar devices from various Chinese manufacturers. Google also showed off the new Pixel 7a, which is a slightly watered down version of the previous top model, the Pixel 7 Pro.

The new Pixel Tablet also celebrated its premiere at I / O. A special feature of the Google tablet is an additional stand with a speaker, which can also be used as a constantly active desktop device. While the Pixel 7a is now available for €509, those interested in the foldable smartphone and tablet will have to wait. dpa