As a joke during the Google I/O 2023 Keynote, I suggested to the guys here in the office that the entire monitoring team on Discord make a snapshot of every time Google said AI during a presentation. It’s so good we were just kidding, Since Google used the term in every possible scenario during their two hour keynote to explain that they have been including AI in their own products for some time now. I’m not going to tell you how many times it’s been said (we’re doing a fun little poll about it right now on Twitter), but there are enough times we 100% regret the decision to take up the drinking game. from him.
As we searched for the term “AI” in Google’s main video, I also wondered if they mentioned Google Assistant or not at any point. After all, Google Assistant has been front and center for years at this point with Google’s blanket messaging, so I imagine it’s been talked about quite a bit, right? And though I couldn’t remember hearing in two hours, we sat and watched Google’s excruciatingly long demo, I wasn’t prepared for the actual result.
Google didn’t mention Assistant even once this year
Yes…awkward. I discovered that there were a few mentions at one point in the presentation that I might have missed, but as I originally thought, there wasn’t a single pronunciation of “Google Assistant” anywhere during the keynote. how is that possible?
With Bard, AI, and ChatGPT at the forefront of everyone’s mind at this point, I wasn’t too shocked about it. After all, we already know that Google is moving resources from the Google Assistant to the Bard and that Google support is being pulled from third-party smart displays (one of the more visible places where the Assistant lives). Knowing that, we already felt like Google Assistant was up in the air.
Now that seems like a hard reality. For reference, Google mentioned Google Assistant 36 times last year at I/O, long before AI chatbots were even a pop culture phenomenon. This year, as that number has reached absolute zero, I have to wonder if we’ll come to the end of Google Assistant as we know it.
Google I/O hardware reaction: Pixel…
What was once a darling in Google’s eye — especially in the consumer realm — has become an afterthought in just a few months. As amazing as this may sound, it makes perfect sense. What people wanted from Google Assistant or Alexa wasn’t just task management; They wanted to try Iron Man/Jarvis. And for all the features Google has offered Assistant from a chat point, it simply pales in comparison to ChatGPT or Bard.
And that’s the problem. I’m not sure which parts of the Bard will or won’t merge with other parts of Google Assistant, but it’s clearly coming. While I don’t foresee a future where Bard is baked into all the places Google Assistant is at right now, I think a future where Bard capabilities are given to the Assistant makes a lot of sense.
Imagine Google Assistant voice models in light of the Bard’s conversational capabilities. It would be impressive to talk to a smart speaker or monitor and have a conversation like what we see with Bard or ChatGPT. It would be next-level for sure, and would probably get people to actually use the Assistant (imbued with the Bard’s conversational abilities, of course) on a more regular basis.
But this future is uncertain, and With the way things are moving right now, I don’t even know if there’s a real way to predict what’s going to happen with all of this. It’s clear that AI is Google’s focus at the moment and how it will affect its core products in a million different ways is yet to be determined. However, for now, this focus shift seems to have left Google Assistant behind, and I’m not sure how it will recover when the dust settles.
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