Source - Google

Google’s AI Step Up: Pursuit to Supercharge the Assistant with Generative Tech

August 5, 2023
2 mins read

Leveraging state-of-the-art generative AI technologies similar to those powering OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s own Bard chatbot, Google is poised to undertake a significant revamp of its Assistant service. For now, the modifications will affect the Assistant experience for consumers, developers, and Google’s employees alike, as the tech giant plans to support both new and traditional approaches.

The transformation is already in progress, marking a substantial shift in Google’s approach to AI-assisted interactions, with the mobile version of the product leading the change. As part of this overhaul, Google is reconfiguring the teams responsible for Assistant, signaling a significant strategy shift within the organization.

The change will impact a minor proportion of the thousands of Google’s employees engaged with Assistant as the company optimizes its resources, anticipating a small-scale series of layoffs. Nonetheless, Google’s leadership maintains an optimistic view about the innovative changes being introduced, affirming their commitment to the Assistant’s future.

As generative AI takes on increasing importance in digital assistant platforms, industry leaders, including Amazon, are following Google’s path. CNBC reports that Google’s ambitious plan involves enhancing its Assistant, a feature prevalent in most Android devices, by harnessing the latest advancements in generative AI.

Large Language Models (LLM), capable of providing insightful and unique responses, are expected to play a crucial role in this comprehensive reorganization of the Assistant service. Google’s Vice President of Engineering for Assistant, Peeyush Ranjan, sees immense potential in amplifying Assistant with LLM technologies.

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The new strategic focus is two-pronged: to deliver high-quality, essential product experiences to users, and to utilize generative AI to substantially improve people’s lives. Affected employees will have 60 days to seek alternative employment opportunities within Google. As team leadership undergoes reorganization, changes are also anticipated within the ‘Speech’ team, which handles voice commands.

The Assistant is integrated into various platforms and devices, including Google Pixel smartphones, Nest smart devices, smart TVs, watches, displays, and Android Auto-enabled cars. Given the rapid advancements in generative AI, Google faces growing pressure to incorporate this technology into as many products as possible.

Despite seven years of evolution, Google Assistant’s understanding of voice instructions remains somewhat robotic, relying heavily on predefined responses. However, the integration of generative AI is expected to pave the way for smart devices to become more communicative and render these interactions more natural.

Implementing chatbots like Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT in personal assistants and smart speakers can increase access to extensive information and foster more natural, context-aware conversations. However, industry giants have yet to fully make this leap, with devices like Amazon’s Alexa still limited in their conversational parameters.

According to Axios, Google’s plans involve the integration of new generative AI elements to “supercharge” its virtual personal assistant software. Generative AI could empower personal assistants and smart speakers to understand and respond to a broader range of user queries, handle more complex conversations, and provide personalized information. Devices powered by generative AI can generate dynamic responses based on the conversation’s context and user preference, rather than relying solely on predefined responses.

Google’s approach is expected to involve not merely a straightforward integration of an LLM-based chatbot but rather the application of various generative AI elements. According to a Google spokesperson, hundreds of millions of users utilize the Assistant monthly, and the company remains committed to providing them with high-quality experiences. Google’s vision to explore LLM’s capabilities to enhance the Assistant service demonstrates the tech giant’s drive to innovate.

Google’s move signifies a transformative moment in the AI landscape, with generative AI poised to revolutionize the realm of virtual assistants.

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