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    Wednesday, May 15, 2024

    Alphabet Debuts Beefed-Up AI Search and Chatbot as Competition Heats Up

    Google parent Alphabet on Tuesday showed how it is building on artificial intelligence across its businesses, including a beefed-up Gemini chatbot and improvements to search, as it faces growing competition from OpenAI and other rivals.

    At its annual I/O developer event in Mountain View, California, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is rolling out AI Overviews to all users in the U.S. this week after a long period of public testing since last year.

    The new AI features unveiled on Tuesday will help investors evaluate Alphabet's progress as it races against Microsoft , OpenAI and other competitors to dominate the emerging technology.

    "We are in the very early days of AI platforms," Pichai said. "We see so much opportunity for creators or developers or startups or everyone helping to (advance) those opportunities - is what Gemini is all about."

    Google also announced improvements to its Gemini Pro 1.5 model that is capable of making sense of a massive amount of data. On Tuesday, Google said it was doubling that amount, to 2 million tokens, meaning the AI potentially could answer questions when given thousands of pages of text or more than an hour of video to ingest in a single prompt.

    The Pro model - starting with prompt sizes of up to 1 million tokens, or pieces of data - will also be available to subscribers to Google’s Gemini Advanced service.

    It also announced a scaled-down version of Gemini called 1.5 Flash, which aims to lower the cost of deploying AI and speed up responses. Like the more capable version, Flash can take in large amounts of data while being optimized for chat applications, video and image captioning.

    AI Overviews uses generative AI to synthesize information and answer more complex queries for which there is no simple answer on the Web.

    Microsoft-backed OpenAI on Monday showcased a new AI model called GPT-4o, which enables ChatGPT to respond via voice in real time and be interrupted - both hallmarks of realistic voice conversations that AI voice assistants like Google Assistant have found challenging.

    Shares of Alphabet were up 1% at $172.50 on Tuesday afternoon.

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