Google's AI strategy will set the tone for its annual developer conference in California technology news

When Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai takes the stage Tuesday at the company's annual developer conference, scheduled to be held at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, he may try to explain how Google is moving forward. Take advantage of AI, bringing it to your most popular products that are used by billions of people every day. Pichai will miss no opportunity to convey the message that “AI” and “Generative AI” are important to its developers, consumers, analysts and investors. Pundits agree that if Google wants to retain its title as the most innovative technology company — and if it wants to remain at the center of the tech ecosystem through Android, the App Store, the search engine and more, it will need to Need to impress. Huge developer support.

Google's I/O, like other developer conferences, focuses primarily on the platforms for which app makers and developers build. It's not often targeted directly at consumers, but Google uses its annual developer conference to bring meaningful updates to its core apps, services, and operating system, including Android, Gmail, Chrome, Photos, Workspaces, and other consumer interests. Are included. , This year won't be much different, and it's possible that Google will announce new software updates at this year's conference, keeping with the trends of past conferences.

google i/o The event is taking place at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, just down the road from Google's headquarters. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Perhaps the biggest announcements at Google I/O will revolve around AI or artificial intelligence, as this has been the focus of the entire tech industry for the past few months. Pichai and company will demonstrate how AI powers every product Google currently offers and what's to come in the future. Industry insiders expect Google's deep investment in artificial intelligence to be showcased at its annual developer conference this week.

“AI will definitely be the main topic,” says Charlie Dai, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. “There is great potential to introduce product enhancements to software offerings powered by generic AI features at the core of Google Gemini.”

Over the past few months, Google has been showcasing its AI efforts to better compete with Microsoft and OpenAI, as the latter two companies continue to expand aggressively with AI offerings. Microsoft has become a leading player in generative AI – technology that generates solid text, images or audio from simple hand-typed signals – thanks to its billion-dollar investment in OpenAI, developer of the ChatGPAT chatbot. The Redmond giant made an early bet on ChatGate-maker OpenAI and quickly incorporated its AI-powered CoPilot service into most of its core software products, from Windows, Edge, Office apps to Bing, powering Microsoft's ecosystem. took. Microsoft's focus on AI made it the world's most valuable tech company, ahead of Apple and Nvidia. Microsoft's “Copilot everywhere” strategy seems to be working, and Google is on the same path as it expands its AI-related efforts, albeit with a different mindset.

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“Microsoft is using its channel partners very effectively to educate tech-savvy developers or individuals using high-performance computing applications about the AI ​​features available on Copilot. Google's strategy, on the other hand, depends on making its Pixel devices better compete with Apple through ecosystem play. On Android, the company is using Gemini to demonstrate Zen AI features through collaboration with OEM partners,” says Sanyam Chaurasia, senior analyst at Canalys.

For Chawrasia, Google is in an advantageous position primarily because there is a huge community of Android developers, the AI ​​stack that Google has is more flexible and much broader, and it is easily accessible. Google offers those development solutions in hardware and software, while also owning the cloud infrastructure. But the battlefield involves large language models, or LLMs – the complex algorithms that lie at the heart of artificial intelligence.

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There are already signs that Google is working entirely on artificial intelligence. Despite some glitches that plagued Gemini during the rollout phase, the company is experimenting with adding its ChatGPIT competitor to more Google services, while also ensuring that AI-powered products are safe and consistent with its AI principles. Made to obey.

android 15 Android 15, Google's follow-up to Android 14, will become available on compatible phones and tablets as the year progresses. (Image credit: Google)

A highlight of this year's gathering is expected to highlight how Google plans to bring Gemini to Android, the mobile operating system that powers more than 3 billion active devices.

“I certainly expect to see further announcements about Gemini support in Android along with more details on the Gemini Nano 2,” said Andrew Cornwall, senior analyst at Forrester.

Google has already demonstrated a flavor of AI using on- and off-device AI on the Pixel 8 series in collaboration with its partner Samsung, which offers “Galaxy AI” on the Galaxy S24 series. AI features like Circle to Search, Magic Editor, and Audio Magic Eraser show what's really possible on a smartphone using artificial intelligence.

Expanding Gemini's capabilities on Android smartphones is a logical step in that direction. Google's on-device AI could give smartphones new capabilities, from translating and summarizing conversations to taking and editing photos with the power of generative AI algorithms. This might be possible if the algorithms were baked into the devices' chips and the software that runs them, rather than being accessed through the cloud.

“We have seen collaboration with Samsung using the Gemini model; We can expect further collaborations with other OEMs using Gemini models at I/O this year,” Chaurasia speculated.

It wouldn't be surprising if more smartphone manufacturers, especially Chinese OEMs, bring AI-infused features to their smartphones in the near future. Ahead of I/O, Google announced that it will be bringing several AI features to the all-new Pixel 8a. It is a mid-range smartphone that uses Google's Gemini Nano model to power two on-device AI features on the phone. The device is powered by Google's own custom Tensor 3 chip, which is designed with machine learning algorithms in mind and is capable of running the Gemini Nano AI system that powers AI features. It is a smaller version of its larger family of language models, which goes under the Gemini name.

Chawrasia says Google's strategy with Gemini on Android is simple. The company wants to bring the power of Gemini AI to more smartphones, expand access to AI features, involve more partners, and ensure that Zen AI features reach devices as soon as possible, allowing users To become familiar with AI. However it remains to be seen whether Google will launch the next version of its mobile operating system, Android 15, with Gemini natively powered. But its possibility is less.

Oppo, OnePlus AI features OnePlus and Oppo will bring Google's AI to some of their phones later this year. (Image credit: Google)

“Earlier, no one cared about a Samsung account, but now with Galaxy AI powering the new Galaxy S24 series, users will have to sign up using a Samsung account to access some AI features. The more users sign up for a Samsung Account, the more Samsung IDs the company adds. This strategy of differentiation has worked for Samsung, helping expand the scope of Samsung's native apps and features,” he said.

The differentiation factor is why Google would take the route of collaborating with various phone manufacturers and license the technology to them instead of adding Gemini AI technology natively into Android.

Experts believe Google's push to bring Gemini to Android could put the company at loggerheads with Apple, which is also exploring the possibility of adding on-device AI features to the next iPhone. But the more Google advances in AI, the more it benefits the tech company and helps it bring in more money. In fact, Google will only benefit if it scales Gemini AI. Apple is reportedly in talks with Google to integrate its Gemini AI product into the iPhone. If a generic AI deal happens between Google and Apple, it will only demonstrate Google's victory and its lead in the AI ​​race. Similar discussions also took place between OpenAI and Apple.

Under Pichai, Google is working hard to incorporate artificial intelligence into its products, but meeting investors' expectations remains challenging. On the one hand, competition from Microsoft, OpenAI, and smaller startups like Perplexity and Anthropic is stronger than ever. On the other hand, there is pressure to implement AI features at breathtaking speed while continuing to improve large language models. However, the real conflict is who controls the future of artificial intelligence and technology. Every major tech company is currently engaged in a “platform war,” and whoever can make AI mainstream may gain an advantage in the coming years, just like Google dominated the search business and Microsoft dominated the PC market. Controlled.

Pichai has already signaled how far Google is willing to go in the AI ​​arms race, despite regulators keeping an eye on its AI strategy. The company's recent move to merge its Android and hardware divisions into one unit under Rick Osterloh reflects its prioritization of artificial intelligence on every possible device, from your phone to your TV and everything else that runs on Android.

But investors continue to question Google about when it will start making money from its AI investments. More importantly, part of the puzzle is whether AI puts its money-making advertising business at risk. Microsoft has no fear of losing out to the competition because it is more focused on the enterprise market and does not have many consumer-facing products. However, Google's case is different from any other tech company that has committed to long-term AI plans.

If an AI chatbot starts providing a way for users to search the web and provide direct answers similar to how a search engine functions, it could make a product like Google Search less popular. This is why Google has been cautious in bringing AI to its search engine. Google's search engine remains free, while the advertisements shown to users bring in money and help the company raise funds for its other larger projects. Google generated $175 billion in revenue from search and related ads last year. How valuable is the search business to Google.

While Google is experimenting with adding its Gemini AI to Search and making optional generative AI search available to some users for beta testing, it has yet to add any features that mimic how a traditional search engine works. It has been slow.

Google I/O 2024 I/O is a software-focused program, aimed at developers. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Despite some concerns, Google's grip on the search business has not yet been challenged, with Microsoft's Bing accounting for only 4.4 percent of the global search market, but the threat looms. OpenAI is reportedly developing a feature for ChatGPT that can search the web and cite sources in its results, and if that feature is released, the product will be a direct competitor to Google. However, there is no guarantee whether OpenAI's success will give Google tough competition in the lucrative search business.

Google has not yet said whether it will bring an ad-free search experience in the future, but the company is willing to charge consumers for an improved version of Gemini through the premium tier of its Google One subscription service. It also sells chargeable premium features for the Google Workspace productivity suite, such as Enterprise and Business plans for Gmail and Docs.

“While Microsoft's AI progress is remarkable, Google's search business remains strong. However, the evolving AI landscape and regulatory dynamics may shape their future competitiveness,” Dai said.

Google's I/O keynote will begin on Tuesday, May 14 at 10 am California time or 10:30 pm Indian Standard Time. I'll be covering it live, so check back for the latest news and commentary from the event. Our I/O live blog from Mountain View, California, straight from Google's headquarters.

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