Google Gems: 21 February 2024

February 21, 2024

Saint Valentine’s Day week bulged with love and kisses from the Google. If I recall what I learned at Duquesne University, Father Valentine was a martyr and checked into heaven in the 3rd century BCE. Figuring out the “real” news about Reverendissimo Padre is not easy, particularly with the advertising-supported Google search. Thus, it is logical that Google would have been demonstrating its love for its “users” with announcements, insights, and news as tokens of affection. I am touched. Let’s take a look at a selected run down of love bonbons.


The Beyond Search team agreed that the big story is part marketing and part cleverness. The Microsofties said that old PCs would become door stops. Millions of Windows users with “old” CPUs and firmware will not work with future updates to Windows. What did Google do? The company announced that it would allow users to use the Chrome OS and continue computing with Google services and features. You can get some details in a Reuters’ story.

1 6 24 gelms

Thanks, MSFT Copilot OpenAI.


Wired Magazine reported that Google wants to allow its “users” to talk to “live agents.” Does this mean smart software which are purported to be alive or to actual humans (who, one hopes, speak reasonably good English or other languages like Kallawaya.


I find Google’s management methods fascinating. I like to describe the method as similar to that used by my wildly popular high school science club. Google did not disappoint.

The Seattle Times reports that Google has made those in its Seattle office chilly. You can read about those cutback at this link. Google is apparently still refining its termination procedures.

A Xoogler provided a glimpse of the informed, ethical, sensitive, and respectful tactics Google used when dealing with “real” news organizations. I am not sure if the word “arrogance” is appropriate. It is definitely quite a write up and provides an X-ray of Google’s management precepts in action. You can find the paywalled write up at this link. For whom are the violins playing?

Google’s management decision to publish a report about policeware appears to have forced one vendor of specialized software to close up shop. If you want information about the power of Google’s “analysis and PR machine” navigate to this story.


New York City wants to sue social media companies for negligence. The Google is unlikely to escape the Big Apple’s focus on the now-noticeable impacts of skipping “real” life for the scroll world. There’s more about this effort in Axios at this link.

An Australian firm has noted that Google may be facing allegations of patent infringement. More about this matter will appear in Beyond Search.

The Google may be making changes to try an ameliorate EU legal action related to misinformation. A flurry of Xhitter posts reveal some information about this alleged effort.

Google seems to be putting a “litigation fence” in place. In an effort to be a great outfit, “Google Launches €25M AI Drive to Empower Europe’s Workforce.” The NextWeb story reports:

The initiative is targeted at “vulnerable and underserved” communities, who Google said risk getting left behind as the use of AI in the workplace skyrockets — a trend that is expected to continue. Google said it had opened applications for social enterprises and nonprofits that could help reach those most likely to benefit from training.  Selected organizations will receive “bespoke and facilitated” training on foundational AI.

Could this be a tactic intended to show good faith when companies terminate employees because smart software like Google’s put individuals out of a job?


The Android Police report that Google is working on a folding phone. “The Pixel Fold 2’s Leaked Redesign Sees Google Trading Originality for a Safe Bet” explains how “safe” provides insight into the company’s approach to doing “new” things. (Aren’t other mobile phone vendors dropping this form factor?) Other product and service tweaks include:

  1. Music Casting gets a new AI. Read more here.
  2. Google thinks it can imbue self reasoning into its smart software. The ArXiv paper is here.
  3. Gemini will work with headphones in more countries. A somewhat confusing report is at this link.
  4. Forbes, the capitalist tool, is excited that Gmail will have “more” security. The capitalist tool’s perspective is at this link.
  5. Google has been inspired to emulate the Telegram’s edit recent sends. See 9 to 5 Google’s explanation here.
  6. Google has released Goose to help its engineers write code faster. Will these steps lead to terminating less productive programmers?


Google is retiring Bard (which some pundits converted to the unpleasant word “barf”). Behold Gemini. The news coverage has been the digital equivalent of old-school carpet bombing. There are many Gemini items. Some have been pushed down in the priority stack because OpenAI rolled out its text to video features which were more exciting to the “real” journalists. If you want to learn about Gemini, its zillion token capability, and the associated wonderfulness of the system, navigate to “Here’s Everything You Need to Know about Gemini 1.5, Google’s Newly Updated AI Model That Hopes to Challenge OpenAI.” I am not sure the article covers “everything.” The fact that Google rolled out Gemini and then updated it in a couple of days struck me as an important factoid. But I am not as informed as Yahoo.

Another AI announcement was in my heart shaped box of candy. Google’s AI wizards made PIVOT public. No, pivot is not spinning; it is Prompting with Iterative Visual Optimization. You can see the service in action in “PIVOT: Iterative Visual Prompting Elicits Actionable Knowledge for VLMs.” My hunch is that PIVOT was going to knock OpenAI off its PR perch. It didn’t. Plus, there is an ArXiv paper authored by Nasiriany, Soroush and Xia, Fei and Yu, Wenhao and Xiao, Ted and Liang, Jacky and Dasgupta, Ishita and Xie, Annie and Driess, Danny and Wahid, Ayzaan and Xu, Zhuo and Vuong, Quan and Zhang, Tingnan and Lee, Tsang-Wei Edward and Lee, Kuang-Huei and Xu, Peng and Kirmani, Sean and Zhu, Yuke and Zeng, Andy and Hausman, Karol and Heess, Nicolas and Finn, Chelsea and Levine, Sergey and Ichter, Brian at this link. But then there is that OpenAI Sora, isn’t there?

Gizmodo’s content kitchen produced a treat which broke one of Googzilla’s teeth. The article “Google and OpenAI’s Chatbots Have Almost No Safeguards against Creating AI Disinformation for the 2024 Presidential Election” explains that Google like other smart software outfits are essentially letting “users” speed down an unlit, unmarked, unpatrolled Information Superhighway.

Business Insider suggests that the Google “Wingman” (like a Copilot. Get the word play?) may cause some people to lose their jobs. Did this just happen in Google’s Seattle office? The “real” news outfit opined that AI tools like Google’s wingman whips up concerns about potential job displacement. Well, software is often good enough and does not require vacations, health care, and effective management guidance. That’s the theory.

Stephen E Arnold, February 21, 2024


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