Google Panic: Just Three Reasons?

April 20, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumbNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I read tweets, heard from colleagues, and received articles emailed to me about Googlers’ Bard disgruntlement?  In my opinion, Laptop Magazine’s summary captures the gist of the alleged wizard annoyance. “Bard: 3 Reasons Why the Google Staff Hates the New ChatGPT Rival.”

I want to sidestep the word “hate”. With 100,000 or so employees a hefty chunk of those living in Google Land will love Bard. Other Google staff won’t care because optimizing a cache function for servers in Brazil is a world apart. The result is a squeaky cart with more squeaky wheels than a steam engine built in 1840.

The three trigger points are, according to the write up:

  1. Google Bard outputs that are incorrect. The example provided is that Bard explains how to crash a plane when the Bard user wants to land the aircraft safely. So stupid.
  2. Google (not any employees mind you) is “indifferent to ethical concerns.” The example given references Dr. Timnit Gebru, my favorite Xoogler. I want to point out that Dr. Jeff Dean does not have her on this weekend’s dinner party guest list. So unethical.
  3. Bard is flawed because Google wizards had to work fast. This is the outcome of the sort of bad judgment which has been the hallmark of Google management for some time. Imagine. Work. Fast. Google. So haste makes waste.

I want to point out that there is one big factor influencing Googzilla’s mindless stumbling and snorting. The headline of the Laptop Magazine article presents the primum mobile. Note the buzzword/sign “ChatGPT.”

Google is used to being — well, Googzilla — and now an outfit which uses some Google goodness is in the headline. Furthermore, the headline calls attention to Google falling behind ChatGPT.

Googzilla is used to winning (whether in patent litigation or in front of incredibly brilliant Congressional questioners). Now even Laptop Magazine explains that Google is not getting the blue ribbon in this particular, over-hyped but widely followed race.

That’s the Code Red. That is why the Paris presentation was a hoot. That is why the Sundar and Prabhakar Comedy Tour generates chuckles when jokes include “will,” “working on,” “coming soon”  as part of the routine.

Once again, I am posting this from the 2023 National Cyber Crime Conference. Not one of the examples we present are from Google, its systems, or its assorted innovation / acquisition units.

Googzilla for some is not in the race. And if the company is in the ChatGPT race, Googzilla has yet to cross the finish line.

That’s the Code Red. No PR, no Microsoft marketing tsunami, and no love for what may be a creature caught in a heavy winter storm. Cold, dark, and sluggish.

Stephen E Arnold, April 26, 2023


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