LONDON: Google plans to include conversational artificial intelligence features in its search engine as it seeks to respond to changes brought about by the rapidly changing industry, says Sundar Pichai.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the Alphabet and Google CEO said AI will enhance user experience to give people more power and flexibility when searching online.
Pichai said: “Will people be able to ask questions to Google and engage with LLMs in the context of search? Absolutely.”
Google is a pioneer in the field of large language models, the term used to refer to AI models that can generate natural language texts from large amounts of data.
The technology is at the heart of services like ChatGPT, the AI chatbot sensation released to the public in the autumn of last year by OpenAI.
Microsoft recently launched an upgraded version of its Bing search engine, which is now powered by ChatGPT. The company said that the new search engine helped it exceed 100 million daily active users last month.
Along with adding it to Bing, the firm spearheaded by Satya Nadella is also integrating the chatbot technology into its Edge browser as well as other Microsoft 365 applications and services.
Google has long been the dominant player in the field of search engine technology, offering a fast and simple way to access information online.
The algorithm that powers its search engine has been the driving force of the business, accounting for more than half of the revenue at parent Alphabet.
Pichai dismissed the potential threat posed by chatbots and added that “the opportunity space, if anything, is bigger than before.”
Google released Bard to the public in February, its own AI chatbot that is similar to ChatGPT, hinting at possible plans to integrate the technology into its search engine.
Pichai added: “It has been incredible to see user excitement around adoption of these technologies, and some of that is a pleasant surprise as well.”
Although Google insists on saying that Bard is an “experiment” and a “powerful technology” that should be used in a “responsible way,” Pichai confirmed that the tech giant is “thoughtfully integrating LLMs into search in a deeper way.”
However, Google has not yet released any specific information about when or how it plans to integrate the technology.
Pichai said that Google is testing several new AI-powered search products, including ones that would allow people to ask follow-up questions to their original query.
Google announced in March that it was working on testing AI features for its Workspace tools, including Gmail and Docs.
Although the AI race has injected fresh energy and optimism into the tech industry, the sector is in the midst of a transition that includes cost-cutting and layoffs due to economic uncertainty.
Google earlier this week announced cuts of some employee perks, ranging from dining facilities to the company’s computing infrastructure.