News Update


Google’s quest for an AI future as it celebrates its 25th birthday

Google is 25 this month (I’ll add a few extra candles to my cake) and finds itself in a digital landscape that has altered considerably since its founding in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Google was just a search engine back then, and it spent its first few months in the garage of Susan Wojcicki, the future CEO of YouTube.

You don’t need me to tell you how effective that search engine was. It has been 17 years since Google was officially added to the lexicon. I recall a BBC debate about whether we should use it as a verb on-air because it may be a free advertisement for the company.

That company, now part of a larger parent corporation named Alphabet, has subsequently branched into almost every sector of technology and dominates several of them to the point where anti-competition officials get concerned. It is currently attempting to Google itself into first place in the AI competition, but some believe it has already fallen behind.

Misses and hits

Google has created (and purchased) hundreds of products and services, including email and cellphones, software and hardware, autonomous cars, digital assistants, and YouTube. Not all of them have succeeded.

On the Killed by Google website, there are 288 discontinued projects listed, including the gaming platform Stadia and the low-cost VR gear Google Cardboard.

The question now is whether Google will be able to sustain its omnipresence in the quickly changing field of artificial intelligence.

There have been whispers, even from within, that it has slipped behind. A leaked memo from a Google engineer stated that the company lacked AI “secret sauce” and was not in a position to win the race.

The war of the bots fueled this sensation even more.


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