Google shows the AI evolution of its search engine: What to know
Google is rolling out more artificial intelligence for its core search product as it responds to Microsoft challenge.
Google has unveiled plans to infuse its dominant search engine with more advanced artificial intelligence technology.
The move comes three months after Microsoft’s Bing search engine started to tap into tech similar to that which powers the artificially intelligent chatbot ChatGPT.
Here is what to know about the move:
What are the new updates to Google search?
- On Wednesday, at its annual I/O conference in Mountain View, California, Google demonstrated an updated core search product that embeds more AI in its answers.
- Under the enhanced function termed the Search Generative Experience (SGE), Google’s homepage still looks and acts like its familiar search bar. The difference is in the answers. If the new function detects that artificial intelligence can be used to answer a query, the top of the results page will show the AI-generated response. The traditional links to the internet will remain below.
- For example, a search for “weather San Francisco” will as usual point a user to an eight-day forecast, while a query asking what outfit to wear in the Californian city prompts a lengthy response generated by AI. “You should bring layers, including a short-sleeved shirt and a light sweater or jacket for the day,” the result stated, including links to websites where it gleaned such advice.
- According to an analysis by The Washington Post, this new technology reduces the steps to get these answers. Currently, these questions might require multiple searches or visiting different pages. Google AI can summarise information and facts from different websites and make search an easier experience.
With our new generative AI experience in Search, you’ll get even more from a single search. You’ll be able to quickly make sense of information with an AI-powered snapshot, pointers to explore more and natural ways to ask. #GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/jgzz97DzEv
— Google (@Google) May 10, 2023
- Users will also be able to enter a brand new “conversational mode” that remembers the user’s prior questions so they can ask follow-ups more easily. “Context will be carried over from question to question to help you more naturally continue your exploration. You’ll also find helpful jumping-off points to web content and a range of perspectives that you can dig into,” Google said.
- But the company said this conversational mode is not designed to be a chatbot with a personality; it is intended only to help hone search results.
- This new release is different from Bard, another AI writing product that Google introduced in March, and it is also different from Google answer bots that talk on smart speakers.
What other technology is coming up?
- More AI technology will be coming to Google’s Gmail with a “Help Me Write” option that will produce lengthy replies to emails in seconds, and a tool for photos called “Magic Editor” that will automatically doctor images.
4/ We’re also bringing generative AI features in @GoogleWorkspace including “Help me write” in Docs + Gmail, plus tools to generate images from text descriptions in Slides + Meet and create custom plans in Sheets, to Workspace Labs.https://t.co/XQ1zADgPGN pic.twitter.com/wjtdDXYrvs
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) May 10, 2023
Is the new Google search available now?
- Not yet. US consumers will gain access to the Search Generative Experience in the coming weeks via a wait list, a trial phase during which Google will monitor the quality, speed and cost of search results, the company said.
What other new things were announced?
- Google released a new foldable Pixel smartphone that lets consumers use the company’s AI. The company also unveiled a $499 phone, the Pixel 7A.
- Bard – a chatbot with a persona that can hold human-like conversations and is intended for creative collaboration – will be accessible to people in more than 180 countries and territories.
- Bard will also be available for Gmail, Sheets and Docs, allowing people to ask questions and interact with the chatbot while using the apps.
- Behind Bard also is a more powerful AI model Google announced called PaLM 2, which it said could solve tougher problems. One of its PaLM 2 models is lightweight enough to work on smartphones.
Introducing Google #PixelFold 🎉
Starting at $1799, this ultra-premium device combines personal AI, #GoogleTensor G2, and @Android innovation for a #Pixel smartphone that unfolds into an incredible compact tablet.#GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/cTxPZBcKq2
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) May 10, 2023
Mark Zuckerberg has thoughts on Apple’s new mixed reality headset – CNN
Days after Apple unveiled its $3,499 mixed reality headset, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared to take a jab at the company’s pricing and vision for the product.
“Our device is also about being active and doing things,” Zuckerberg said at an all-hands meeting with Meta employees on Thursday, referencing its Quest VR headset line. “By contrast, every demo that [Apple] showed was a person sitting on a couch by themself. I mean, that could be the vision of the future of computing, but like, it’s not the one that I want.”
He added that Meta’s vision for the metaverse, an immersive virtual world, is “fundamentally social.”
The remarks were first reported by The Verge. A spokesperson for Meta later confirmed their accuracy to CNN.
The Apple Vision Pro headset blends both virtual reality and augmented reality, a technology that overlays virtual images on live video of the real world. It represents Apple’s most ambitious and riskiest new hardware offering in years, and also pits the company against Meta, which has invested billions in VR and currently dominates the headset market.
Last week, Zuckerberg tried to preempt the expected Apple headset announcement by teasing the Meta Quest 3. The new headset promises improved performance, new mixed-reality features and a sleeker, more comfortable design, at a more affordable price ($499).
In his remarks to employees, Zuckerberg repeatedly focused on headset pricing.
“We innovate to make sure that our products are as accessible and affordable to everyone as possible, and that is a core part of what we do,” Zuckerberg told his staff. At another point, Zuckerberg said Apple’s decision to invest in a high-res display and other technology under the hood means “it costs seven times more and now requires so much energy that now you need a battery and a wire attached to it to use it.”
The two companies had a tense relationship even before Apple’s entry into the market. They have competed over news and messaging features, and their CEOs have traded jabs over data privacy and app store policies. Last February, Meta said it expected to take a $10 billion hit in 2022 from Apple’s move to limit how apps like Facebook collect data for targeted ads. But the rivalry now appears poised to reach a new level.
In an early demo with the Vision Pro, CNN was impressed with the company’s unique approach to the device, from how it can present a users’ specific eyeglasses prescription so no frames need to be squeezed into the headset to how a custom processor cuts down on the latency, an issue found in similar products that can result in nausea. Its immersive video capabilities were also stunning.
But the headset is clearly a work in progress. The apps and experiences remain limited; users must stay tethered to a battery pack the size of an iPhone with just two hours of battery life; and the first minutes using the device can be off-putting. Apple also plans to charge far more than other headsets on the market that have previously struggled to gain wide adoption.
Some industry watchers expect Apple, with its impressive hardware track record, will ultimately win out in the market. But in his remarks Thursday, Zuckerberg said Apple’s approach “made me even more excited and in a lot of ways optimistic that what we’re doing matters and is going to succeed.”
The headset wasn’t the only topic Zuckerberg addressed during the hands-on meeting. He also discussed the company’s growing focus on building generative AI into “all of our products,” as Meta and other companies race to adapt to the rise of ChatGPT.
“We’re going to play an important and unique role in bringing these capabilities to billions of people, and in the process it’s going to touch every product we make,” Zuckerberg said in a statement shared with CNN.
Meta recently announced it is bringing AI agents with “unique personas and skill sets” to Messenger and WhatsApp, with eventual plans to roll it out to other apps, products and even the metaverse.
ChatGPT comes to iPad, adds support for Siri and Shortcuts
Less than a month after its release on the App Store, OpenAI’s ChatGPT app is getting its first big update. The new version, out today, brings native iPad support to the AI chatbot app, as well as support for using ChatGPT with Siri and Shortcuts. Drag and drop is also now available, allowing users to drag individual messages from ChatGPT into other apps.
The latter could be useful in iPad’s split-screen mode, for instance, as you could ask ChatGPT for answers in one window and then drag its replies to another.
On iPad, ChatGPT now runs in full-screen mode, optimized for the tablet’s interface. This change, along with drag-and-drop, will likely make it preferable to using the web browser version of the chatbot, which is what many iPad users were still doing ahead of today’s release. The update could also drive incremental new downloads of the ChatGPT app, which had popped to the top of the App Store right out of the gate with half a million installs in less than a week from its debut.
It has since rolled out to other markets outside the U.S., including Albania, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, South Korea and the U.K., and promised an Android version would arrive soon.
Another new feature of interest with today’s release is ChatGPT’s support for Siri and Shortcuts. While that doesn’t mean you can fully swap out Siri for the OpenAI chatbot as your iOS device’s voice interface, it does mean you can create custom ChatGPT Shortcuts that work with Siri. For instance, you could turn your favorite prompts into Shortcuts and then have those perform an additional step after the query is completed, like saving the response to a different app. You can also now ask Siri to open ChatGPT using voice commands.
Like its iPhone counterpart, iPad users can also opt to upgrade to ChatGPT’s paid subscription, ChatGPT Plus, which starts at $20 per month, providing elevated access to ChatGPT even during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements.
The ChatGPT mobile app has proven to have staying power in the App Store in the weeks since its launch. In the U.S., the app is still the No. 4 app on the App Store’s Top Free charts, for example, and has a 4.8-star rating across 421,000 ratings and reviews — a figure that’s hard to achieve for any app. Estimates from third-party app intelligence provider data.ai indicate the app has now seen 7.3 million worldwide installs on iOS, and hasn’t left the top five in the U.S. since its debut. The app is also now No. 1 overall in 31 countries worldwide.
Apple this week updated its App Store rules with a seeming eye on ChatGPT clones, noting that submitting apps that impersonate others is a violation of the Developer Code of Conduct and may result in removal from the Apple Developer Program. The App Store had been overrun with ChatGPT pretenders ahead of the arrival of the official version.
Mark Zuckerberg shares his thoughts on the Apple’s Vision Pro
Meta is Apple’s chief competitor in the VR market, and it launched its premier offering, the Quest 3 just a few days before Apple dropped the Vision Pro.
So it’s interesting to hear what Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks of Apple’s inaugural VR headset.
During a meeting with Meta employees, Zuckerberg addressed Vision Pro in detail. He said that Apple didn’t find “magical solutions” to the constraints of physics that Meta’s teams haven’t already explored.
He notes Apple’s use of higher-resolution displays but adds that it requires more energy to power, a battery and a wire attached to use it, and the fact that it costs seven times more than the Quest 3.
Perhaps most importantly, Zuckerberg talks about the “difference in the values and the vision” between Meta and Apple when it comes to their headsets. He adds that Meta’s vision is “fundamentally social” and that “it’s about people interacting in new ways and feeling closer in new ways”. He continues that Apple’s approach, by contrast, showed “a person sitting on a couch by themself”. He finished off by saying that Apple’s Vision Pro could be “the vision of the future of computing”, “but like, it’s not the one I want”.
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