Will the Cloud Energize Google or Just Generate Marketing Material?

September 12, 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 read an article in Forbes (once the capitalist tool and now a tool for capitalists I think) titled “How Google Cloud Is Leveraging Generative AI To Outsmart Competition.” The competition? Does this mean AI entities in China, quasi-monopolies like Facebook (aka Meta) and Microsoft, or tiny start ups with piles of venture funding?

9 4 content marketing payoff

A decider in the publishing sector learns how to make it rain money. Is the method similar to that of the era of Yellow Journalism? Nope. The approach is squarely in line with Madison Avenue’s traditional approach. Thanks, Mother MidJourney. No red alert. Try to scramble up the gradient descent today, please.

The article’s title signals content marketing to me. As I read through the essay, it struck me as product placement.

Let me cite a couple of examples:

First, consider this passage:

Compared to Cloud TPU v4, the new Google Cloud TPU v5e has up to 2x higher training performance per dollar and up to 2.5x higher inference performance per dollar for LLMs and generative AI models. … Google is introducing Multislice technology in preview to make it easier to scale up training jobs, allowing users to quickly scale AI models beyond the boundaries of physical TPU pods—up to tens of thousands of Cloud TPU v5e or TPU v4 chips.

The “information” seems to come from a technical source proud of the advanced developments at the beloved Google. I would suggest that the information payload of the passage is zero for a person working in a Fortune 1000 company engaged in retail or financial services. In my opinion, the information is not even useful for marketing. Forbes is writing for the people not in the Google AI parade.

What about this passage?

Having its own foundation models enables Google to iterate faster based on usage patterns and customer feedback. Since the announcement of PaLM2 at Google I/O in April 2023, the company has enhanced the foundation model to support 32,000 token context windows and 38 new languages. Similarly, Codey, the foundation model for code completion, offers up to a 25% quality improvement in major supported languages for code generation and code chat. The primary benefit of owning the foundation model is the ability to customize it for specific industries and use cases.

Let’s set aside the tokens thing and the assertion about “25 percent quality improvement” and get to the point: “The primary benefit of owning the foundation model is the ability to customize it for specific industries and use cases.” To me, I think that Google wants control: The foundation, the tools for building, and the use cases. Since these are software, Google benefits because it furthers its alleged monopoly grip on information. Furthermore, Google as a super user can easily inject for fee, weaponized, or shaped content into the workflows to achieve its objective: Money. I suppose some of the people in the parade will get a payoff like a drink of Google-Ade. But the winner is Google.

My view of this “real” news write up is a recycling of comments I have offered in my essays since the days of Backrub:

  • Google’s technology is designed to allow control of information
  • The methods are those of other alleged monopolies: Control and distribution to generate money and toll booths
  • The executives are unable to break out of the high school science club bubble in which they think, explain, and operate.

I wonder if Malcolm Forbes would be happy with this “real” news about Google, the number three cloud provider making a play to mash up infrastructure, information processing, and monetization in an objective news story?

My hunch is that he would want to ride his Harley up Broadway to get away from those who have confused product placement with hard reporting.

Stephen E Arnold, September 12, 2023


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