Google is set to publicly test a more deeply AI-enhanced search engine next month as it attempts to counter Bing’s increasing adoption.
Earlier this year, Microsoft enhanced its Bing search engine with OpenAI’s GPT. The release reportedly set off alarm bells at Google due to the risks it poses to its core search and advertising business.
Google has been working on its own AI-powered features for its search engine under a project codenamed Magi, according to a report citing internal documents.
Ads will continue to be shown in search results generated by Magi, especially those that could lead to a financial transaction. Magi will simply focus on improving Google’s existing search engine features with AI capabilities
The project reportedly involves a team of about 160 engineers working to tweak and test the latest versions of the tool. The capabilities are “being created by designers, engineers, and executives working in so-called sprint rooms to tweak and test the latest versions.”
Google is planning a public release of the tool next month in a limited capacity. Around one million people will get to access the project’s features as part of the first batch. Around 30 million users are expected to have access by the end of the year.
Microsoft has been investing heavily in AI research and development through OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT. This investment has given Microsoft an edge in developing AI products, which Google is now seeking to compete with.
A last-minute event was held by Google the day after Microsoft held an event to announce the GPT-enhanced Bing search engine and Edge browser. Google’s event was a mess. Previous announcements were rehashed, a presenter’s phone went missing, and CEO Sundar Pichai was nowhere to be seen.
Googlers took to the internal forum ‘Memegen’ to criticise Pichai’s leadership. One wrote, “Dear Sundar, the Bard launch and the layoffs were rushed, botched, and myopic” and called on Pichai to “please return to taking a long-term outlook.”
In the month after Microsoft released its AI-enhanced Bing, users surged to over 100 million for the first time.
“Of the millions of active users of the new Bing preview, it’s great to see that roughly one-third are new to Bing,” wrote Yusuf Mehdi, Head of Bing at Microsoft, in a blog post.
“We see this appeal of the new Bing as a validation of our view that search is due for a reinvention and of the unique value proposition of combining Search + Answers + Chat + Creation in one experience.”
Project Magi will be seen as an opportunity for Google to get back on its feet and prove it hasn’t fallen behind Microsoft.
(Image Credit: Google)
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