The Big Show from the Google: Meh

May 11, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I ran a query on, asking where I could view the Google Big Show* (no Tallulah Bankhead, just Sundar and friends). You replied as the show was airing on YouTube Live, “I don’t know where the program is.” Love that smart software, right? I clicked off because it was not as good as what Microsoft hit the slopes with in Davos. After Paris, I figured the Googlers would enlist its industry leading smart software and the really thrilled merged Google Brain and DeepMind wizards and roll out a killer program. I was thinking a digital Steve Jobs explaining killer innovations and an ending with “one more thing.” Alas, no reality distortion field, just me too, me too, me too.

sad juggler 5 11 23

A sad amateur vaudeville performer holds a tomato thrown at him when his song and dance act flopped. The art was created by the helpful and available MidJourney system. I wanted to use Bing, but I am not comfortable with the alleged surveillance characteristics of Credge.

How do I know my reaction is semi-valid. Today’s Murdochy Wall Street Journal ran the story about the Big Show on page three with the headline “Google Unveils Search Revamped for AI Era.” That’s like a vaudeville billing toward the bottom with the dog act and phrase “exotic animals.” Page three for the company that ignores the fact that it is selling online advertising with a system that generates oodles of cash yet not enough to keep a full complement of staff? That’s amazing!

I listened — briefly — to the This Week in Google podcast. I can’t understand how a program about Google can beat up on the firm with such gentle punches. I recall the phrase “a lack of strategic vision.” That was it. Navigate away to Lawfare, a program which actually discusses topics with some intellectual body blows.

I spoke with one of my research team. That person’s comment was:

I think Sundar is hitting the applause button and nothing is happening.

I though Google smart music could generate an applause track. Failing that, why not snip an applause track from one of Steve Jobs’s presentations. I like the one with the computer in the envelope or the roll out of the iPhone. I wonder if the AI infused Google search could not locate the video? couldn’t locate the Google in out or off on program, but that is understandable. It was definitely a “don’t fail to miss it” event.

And where was Prabhakar Raghavan, the head of search? Where was Danny Sullivan, Google’s “we deliver relevant results”. Where was the charming head of DeepMind, an executive beloved by his team? Where was Dr. Jeff Dean, the inventor of Chubby and champion of recipes?

I know that OpenAI has been enjoying the Google wizard who explained that Google cannot keep up. See this allegedly accurate report called “Google and OpenAI Will Lose the AI Arms Race to Open-Source Engineers, a Googler Said in a Leaked Document.” Microsoft is probably high fiving and holding Team meetings with happy faces on the Microsofties who are logged in.

* The Big Show was a big flop for NBC when it aired in the early 1950s. Ah, Tallulah and the endless recycling of Jimmy Durante, snippets of stage plays, and truly memorable performers whose talent is different from today’s rap and pop stars. Here’s a famous quote from Tallulah which may be appropriate for Google’s hurry and catch up approach to innovation:

“There’s less here than meets the eye.”

I love that Tallulah quote.

Stephen E Arnold, May 11, 2023


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