Bard Is More Than You and I Know

March 6, 2023

I have to hand it to the real news outfit CNBC, the reporters have a way of getting interesting information about the innards of Googzilla. A case in point is “Google Execs Tell Employees in Testy All Hands Meeting That Bard A.I. Isn’t Just about Search.” Who knew? I thought Google was about online advertising and increasing revenue. Therefore, my dinobaby mind says, Bard is part of the Google; it follows that Bard is about advertising and maybe – just maybe – will have an impact of search. Nope.

I learned from CNBC:

In an all-hands meeting on Thursday (March 2, 2023), executives answered questions from Dory, the company’s internal forum, with most of the top-rated issues related to the priorities around Bard… [emphasis added]

Gee, I wonder why?

The write up pointed out:

employees criticized leadership, most notably CEO Sundar Pichai, for the way it handled the announcement of Bard

Oh, the Code Red, the Paris three star which delivered a froid McDo. (Goodness, I almost type “faux”.)

CNBC’s article added:

Staffers called Google’s initial public presentation [in Paris] “rushed,” “botched” and “un-Googley.”

Yeah, maybe faux is the better word, but I like the metaphor of a half cooked corporatized burger as well.

And the guru of Google Search, Prabhakar Raghavan, stepped out of the spotlight. A Googler named Jack Krawczyk, the product lead for Bard, filled in for the crowd favorite from Verity and Yahoo

. Mr. Krawczyk included in his stand up routine with one liners like this:

Bard is not search.

Mr. Krawczyk must have concluded that his audience was filled with IQ 100 types from assorted countries with lousy educational systems. I thought Googlers were exceptional. Surely Googlers could figure out what Bard could do. (Perhaps that is the reason for the employees’ interest in smart software:

Mr. Krawczyk quipped:

“It’s an experiment that’s a collaborative AI service that we talked about … “The magic that we’re finding in using the product is really around being this creative companion to helping you be the sparkplug for imagination, explore your curiosity, etc.”

CNBC pointed out that Mr. Krawczyk suggested the Google had “built a new feature for internal use called ‘Search It.’” That phrase reminded me of universal search which, of course, means separate queries for Google News, Google Scholar, Google Maps, et al. Yeah, universal search was a snappy marketing phrase but search has been a quite fragmented, relevance blind, information retrieval system.

The high value question in my opinion, is: Will “Search It” have the same cachet as ChatGPT?

Microsoft seems to be an effective marketer of to-be smart applications and services. Google, on the other hand, hopes I remember Mum or Ernie (not the cartoon character)?

Google, the Code Red outfit, is paddling its very expensive canoe with what appears to be desperation.

Net net: Google has not solved death and I am not sure the company will resolve the Microsoft / ChatGPT mindshare juggernaut. Here’s my contribution to the script of the next Sundar and Prabhakar Comedy Show: “We used to think Google was indecisive. But now we’re not so sure.”

Stephen E Arnold, March 6, 2023


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