The Google: A Bit of a Wobble

February 28, 2024

green dinoThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

Check out this snap from Techmeme on February 28, 2024. The folks commenting about Google Gemini’s very interesting picture generation system are confused. Some think that Gemini makes clear that the Google has lost its way. Others just find the recent image gaffes as one more indication that the company is too big to manage and the present senior management is too busy amping up the advertising pushed in front of “users.”


I wanted to take a look at What Analytics India Magazine had to say. Its article is “Aal Izz Well, Google.” The write up — from a nation state some nifty drone technology and so-so relationships with its neighbors — offers this statement:

In recent weeks, the situation has intensified to the extent that there are calls for the resignation of Google chief Sundar Pichai. Helios Capital founder Samir Arora has suggested a likelihood of Pichai facing termination or choosing to resign soon, in the aftermath of the Gemini debacle.

The write offers:

Google chief Sundar Pichai, too, graciously accepted the mistake. “I know that some of its responses have offended our users and shown bias – to be clear, that’s completely unacceptable and we got it wrong,” Pichai said in a memo.

The author of the Analytics India article is Siddharth Jindal. I wonder if he will talk about Sundar’s and Prabhakar’s most recent comedy sketch. The roll out of Bard in Paris was a hoot, and it too had gaffes. That was a year ago. Now it is a year later and what’s Google accomplished:

Analytics India emphasizes that “Google is not alone.” My team and I know that smart software is the next big thing. But Analytics India is particularly forgiving.

The estimable New York Post takes a slightly different approach. “Google Parent Loses $70B in Market Value after Woke AI Chatbot Disaster” reports:

Google’s parent company lost more than $70 billion in market value in a single trading day after its “woke” chatbot’s bizarre image debacle stoked renewed fears among investors about its heavily promoted AI tool. Shares of Alphabet sank 4.4% to close at $138.75 in the week’s first day of trading on Monday. The Google’s parent’s stock moved slightly higher in premarket trading on Tuesday [February 28, 2024, 941 am US Eastern time].

As I write this, I turned to Google’s nemesis, the Softies in Redmond, Washington. I asked for a dinosaur looking at a meteorite crater. Here’s what Copilot provided:


Several observations:

  1. This is a spectacular event. Sundar and Prabhakar will have a smooth explanation I believe. Smooth may be their core competency.
  2. The fact that a Code Red has become a Code Dead makes clear that communications at Google requires a tune up. But if no one is in charge, blowing $70 billion will catch the attention of some folks with sharp teeth and a mean spirit.
  3. The adolescent attitudes of a high school science club appear to inform the management methods at Google. A big time investigative journalist told me that Google did not operate like a high school science club planning a bus trip to the state science fair. I stick by my HSSCMM or high school science club management method. I won’t repeat her phrase because it is similar to Google’s quantumly supreme smart software: Wildly off base.

Net net: I love this rationalization of management, governance, and technical failure. Everyone in the science club gets a failing grade. Hey, wizards and wizardettes, why not just stick to selling advertising.

Stephen E Arnold, February 28,. 2024


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