Google announced the layoff of about 12,000 employees (Alex Wong / Getty)
Over the past month held a founding Google IncLarry Page and Sergey Brin, several meetings with executives about a product that looked as if it could be the first real threat, in decades, to the company’s $149 billion research business.
Paige and Brin, who have not spent much time at Google since they gave up their daily duties in 2019, reviewed its strategy for Google products. Artificial intelligenceTwo people with knowledge of the contents of the meetings told The New York Times on Friday. They agreed on plans, and suggested ideas for getting more chatbots into the internet search engine.
This return reflects the extent of the danger that company executives felt about artificial intelligence technologies and its most prominent product, the ChatGPT chatbot. This robot was introduced by the small company OpenAI in San Francisco, two months ago, and impressed its users, with its ability to simplify complex principles and generate ideas from scratch. What worried Google in particular was that this bot looked like it could offer a new way to search the web. Microsoft, which supports ChatGPT, has indicated that it will use it to power the Bing engine, which has long been a competitor to Google’s.
In response to this threat that Google felt, its CEO, Sundar Pichai, asked to devote himself to developing artificial intelligence technologies. Google intends to unveil more than 20 new products and launch a version of its search engine that includes chatbot features this year, according to the New York Times. At the same time, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is cutting staff.
On Friday, it announced the abandonment of about 12,000 employees, “in response to the changing economic reality.” “Over the past two years, we have experienced periods of explosive growth,” Pichai wrote to employees in an email. “To keep pace with and support this growth, we have hired a number of people in response to an economic reality different from the one we face today.” “We conducted a rigorous review across product areas and job roles, to ensure our people and roles align with our highest priorities as a company,” he added. At the end of September 2022, the total number of employees at Alphabet worldwide was about 187,000.
In the same letter, Pichai said that these layoffs “will sharpen our focus” on new priorities, noting the need to invest more in artificial intelligence. “Being restricted in some areas allows us to bet more in other areas,” he added.
According to The New York Times, members of Google’s Advanced Technology Review Board met less than two weeks after ChatGPT came to light. They reviewed product plans that were expected to be announced at the company’s conference last May, including Image Generation Studio, which creates and edits images, and a third version of AI Test Kitchen. Projects also included a feature called Shopping Try-on, a green screen on YouTube for creating backgrounds, a wallpaper maker for a pixel phone, an app called Maya that visualizes shoes in 3D, and a tool that can summarize videos and create a new video. For its plans to leverage search engine chatbots, getting the facts right, ensuring safety and eliminating misinformation is a top priority. The company intends, for example, to block certain words to avoid hate speech, and will try to minimize other potential issues.