Alphabet News: Google’s Bard initiatives significantly affect Assistant business

April 11, 2023

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Google announced that it would no longer provide software updates for three third-party Smart Displays: the Lenovo Smart Display (7″, 8″, and 10″), JBL Link View, and LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display. The move translates beyond the end of support for the said devices: it could also be a sign of Google’s new focus to prioritize its AI battles as Microsoft’s fast ChatGPT product integrations continue to threaten its business. Even more, it could even mean Google’s new plan to use a more advanced AI like Bard in its Assistant products.

Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investments in ChatGPT-creator OpenAI have finally made their way to several products and services of the company, including the Bing search engine, Edge browser, Microsoft 365 apps, Azure OpenAI Service, and security offerings. This brought Google into panic mode and later unveiled Bard. Its initial demo wasn’t so successful, however. After this, the company continued to push even further to beef up its AI initiatives.

Aside from the unlikely collaboration of Google’s Brain AI group and DeepMind, it seems the Alphabet-owned company is now becoming more aggressive by making significant changes in its Assistant business to focus more on its Bard initiatives.

In a report in March, CNBC shared that Google reorganized its Assistant team in hopes of focusing more on Bard. Sissie Hsiao, vice president and lead of Google Assistant’s business unit, confirmed this via a memo. Part of this announcement revealed that former Google Assistant engineering vice president Amar Subramanya was assigned to be the engineering lead of the Bard team. CNBC said it could be an indication of Google’s plan to use Bard in its Assistant products in the future.

While there is still no confirmation whether that is Google’s actual plan, it is certain that the company is now heavily prioritizing Bard. With more pressure building up as more companies show interest in AI tech and Microsoft continuously pushing forward, Google has no choice but to follow the trend to secure its Search business… even if it means disrupting the flow of its other business units.

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