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Google Assistant Shifting Focus Towards Generative AI

Google assistance generative AI

Google had an unpleasant realization that it had complacently spun its wheels on a form of fake AI for a decade. As a result, it immediately started realigning itself. An internal email reported by Axios indicates that Google Assistant is now undergoing a generative AI face-lift.

The Google Assistant team leads see a significant opportunity to explore a supercharged Assistant powered by the latest LLM (large language model) technology. To achieve this, some organizational changes are in progress.

The motivation behind these changes doesn’t appear to be a mere curiosity to see what it looks like. It seems more likely that Google has observed other companies demonstrating similar technologies publicly and is now eager to catch up. The unfolding of this change in vision will take place over the coming months.

While numerous examples of LLMs powering chatbots and assistants exist, the practicality of this technology for this corner of tech is yet to be proven. Services like Assistant, Alexa, and Siri functioned more like Mad Libs, with users providing specific subjects and verbs. Although this may not be classified as “AI,” it serves as an effective interface for simple digital interactions.

However, applying LLM technology to provide answers informed by the entirety of the Western canon when asked about driving to the beach may not necessarily be seen as an improvement. People may enjoy novelty interactions, such as asking for the weather in sonnet form, but the appeal often wears off over time.

While LLMs demonstrate interesting capabilities, such as following the thread of a conversation, many users may not desire conversational interactions with their navigation systems or sushi restaurant recommendations. It might be more practical to have an interface capable of handling both types of interactions, and users can access specific capabilities as needed.

In any case, Google is making the strategic move to get its ducks in a row, just in case the shift towards generative AI proves to be a game-changer.

Before Google also testing AI for writing news stories