Apr 9, 2024 - Technology

Google drafts search engine to "ground" AI results in truth

Google's Thomas Kurian sits at a table

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. Photo: Cayce Clifford/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Google is launching a new effort Tuesday that will let businesses use results from its flagship search engine to help "ground" the results of generative AI queries.

Why it matters: The tendency of large language models to hallucinate, or make things up, is a key hurdle to broader business adoption of generative AI.

Driving the news: Google is announcing the "grounding" effort as part of a slew of announcements at its three-day Google Cloud Next conference, which kicks off later on Tuesday.

  • Google says that by integrating Google search into Vertex, its AI offering for businesses, it can give users access to more recent information and citations indicating the sources for key data.
  • Microsoft has also aimed to use its Bing search engine to help offer citations along with answers returned by its Copilot chatbot.
  • Google allows businesses to "ground" results from AI queries using their own data, though that effort is at an earlier stage. Google announced new connections to Workday and Salesforce data, with plans to add more options over time.

The big picture: Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told Axios there has been a big shift in how companies are approaching generative AI.

  • "Last year, companies were feeling a lot of pressure to adopt generative AI given all the hype and noise," Kurian said. "So they experimented [with] a bunch of things."
  • Now they are trying to figure out which uses are really ready for widespread employment. "The biggest shift I see is systematically people are going from pilot to actual production deployment," Kurian said.

Zoom in: Among the early customers of Google's enterprise AI tools has been Verizon, which is using the technology for everything from deploying 5G networks to creating personalized marketing to revamping how it handles customer service.

  • In that last area, Verizon is using generative AI both to automate more queries and to help put the right information in front of the humans who are answering the tougher customer questions.
  • "We reduce the cognitive load on our agents and have them instead focus on building that emotional connection with the customers that is really the name of the game," Verizon chief information officer Shankar Arumugavelu told Axios.

Separately, Google is using the Google Cloud Next event to introduce several other products for its Cloud business customers.

  • It's debuting Google Vids, a new AI-powered video editing app that will become part of Workspace, the company's paid productivity suite. Vids is set to be released to Google's experimental Workspace Labs in June.
  • There's also a new $10 per person per month AI-powered messaging and meeting service, as well as a similarly priced security service that can be added to Google Workspace.
  • Google is expanding its Imagen text-to-image engine, with Imagen 2.0 supporting the creation of animations in addition to still images.
  • The company is announcing Axion, its first custom datacenter chip with an Arm core, along with general availability for its most powerful homegrown Tensor processor, the v5p. Google is also committing to offer two of Nvidia's forthcoming Grace Blackwell chips early next year.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect that Google Cloud Next is a three-day conference (not a two-day conference).

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