While laying off 12,000 employees, Alphabet has called in its founders to help guide the company—following severe concerns about falling behind Microsoft’s AI applications.
- Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have been putting much effort in the past month into working with their former colleagues to help address the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) applications that its rival Microsoft has begun implementing.
- Alphabet’s leadership is pivoting towards more AI applications and using chatbot features in its algorithms, reflecting an air of urgency within the company to catch up.
- More than 20 new AI products have reportedly been pushed to the forefront of the company’s plans.
- As The New York Times reports, ChatGPT’s implementation could present the first meaningful threat to Google’s dominance as a search engine, putting the future of the $1.26 trillion tech firm at risk as it falls behind the competition.
- The news comes as Alphabet faces another round of tech layoffs this week, cutting 6% of its total workforce, or 12,000 people, from all company departments.
Why It’s Important
As we previously reported, Microsoft is finding many opportunities in its collaboration with OpenAI and ChatGPT, which only opened to the public on November 30 but has already become a viral sensation and an avenue for innovation. Microsoft has discussed using the technology to improve search features, improve the auto-generated text in Office 365 Products, and even implement it in medical applications.
Microsoft’s new application tools present multiple threats to Google, whose Google Docs and Spreadsheets software have overtaken Microsoft Office and Office 365 as the dominant writing tools for consumers.
The urgency now is more significant than ever to push these applications to the forefront and assert Google’s status as a leading tech firm—such as uses in internet browsers, image-creation software, wallpaper and greenscreen features for phones, code generation and repair tools, and an experimental product testing app called Test Kitchen.
Backing Up A Bit
AI implementation has long been a project on Alphabet’s horizon, and its extensive collection of researchers and scientists have put work into using the technology in various capacities, most notably its advanced LaMDA language AI, which a rogue researcher incorrectly claimed had become sentient.
The stress from the rivals is only compounded by economic stressors. The company’s workforce swelled to 187,000 people at the height of the COVID pandemic. Like many competitors, Alphabet has been forced to reduce staff as the economy has worsened. Microsoft similarly cut 5% of its workforce this week, over 10,000 employees.
“This is a moment of significant vulnerability for Google. ChatGPT has put a stake in the ground, saying, ‘Here’s what a compelling new search experience could look like,’” former Google research director D. Sivakumar told The New York Times.