Google showcases AI innovations taking on OpenAI

Google has showcased its latest innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) across its businesses as it races to compete with AI rivals.
Google IO 2024Google has introduced a new Gemini chatbot. Google has also revealed improvements to its search engine.

Google’s main rival is Microsoft-backed OpenAI.

Google’s latest AI solutions include an addition to its family of Gemini 1.5 AI models known as Flash that is faster and cheaper to run; a prototype called Project Astra, which can talk to users about anything captured on their smartphone camera in real time; and search results categorized under AI-generated headlines.

“This is a moment of growth and opportunity,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told reporters at Google’s annual I/O developer event in Mountain View, California, when asked if the AI updates could risk Google’s profitable business.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Monday demonstrated how ChatGPT could voice answers with human-like intonation to any written or visual prompt.

Alphabet’s AI unit, Google DeepMind, has worked to build technology that can carry out day-to-day tasks for consumers. Early results have manifested in Project Astra, a tool that can use a smartphone camera and draw conclusions about the world around it.

In a demo video shown during Google I/O, a user deployed it to identify a speaker and locate glasses they had left in another part of the room, Reuters news report said. The company also teased how it could pair Project Astra with what it calls Gemini Live, a potentially more natural-sounding voice and text aide than its Google Assistant of the past.

Google teased Veo, an AI model that can spin up 1080p-resolution videos lasting longer than a minute, available to approved creators on a preview basis, filmmaker Donald Glover among them. OpenAI has promoted film-conjuring software of its own among Hollywood executives.

Google also announced improvements to its Gemini Pro 1.5 model that is capable of making sense of a massive amount of data. On Tuesday, it said it was doubling that amount, to 2 million tokens, meaning the AI potentially could answer questions when given thousands of pages of text or more than an hour of video to ingest.

The Pro model – starting with prompt sizes of up to 1 million tokens, or pieces of data – will also be available to subscribers to Google’s Gemini Advanced service.

Google also shed light on its efforts to power AI with new computing chips and revamp its search engine.

The company announced a sixth-generation tensor processing unit (TPU), which aims to give it and its Google Cloud customers an alternative to Nvidia’s processors. The new chip will be available to its cloud customers in late 2024, Google said.

Meanwhile, for U.S. users of Google Search browsing the Web in English, the company said it soon will use AI to help organize search results for queries on dining, recipes, and eventually movies, books and other content.

Also for Google search, the company is rolling out AI Overviews to all users in the U.S. this week. The feature uses generative AI to synthesize information and answer more complex queries for which there is no simple answer on the Web.

Google has unveiled a product called Trillium in its artificial intelligence data center chip family that it says is nearly five times as fast as its prior version. The new chip will be available to its cloud customers in late 2024.

The sixth-generation Trillium chip will achieve 4.7 times better computing performance compared with the TPU v5e, according to Google, a chip designed to power the tech that generates text and other media from large models. The Trillium processor is 67 percent more energy efficient than the v5e.

The company designed the chips to be deployed in pods of 256 chips that can be scaled to hundreds of pods.

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