Googlers are talking all about the company’s announcement of its ChatGPT rival, Bard — and many aren’t happy with how things went. According to a report from CNBC, Google employees are calling the launch of the AI chatbot “rushed” and “botched” in posts across the company’s internal message boards, with many targeting CEO Sundar Pichai.
Google announced Bard earlier this week in a bid to get ahead of Microsoft, which took the wraps off of its ChatGPT-powered Bing a day later. But when the company tweeted out a demo of Bard on Monday, several users pointed out that it contained a factual error. Meanwhile, a presenter at Google’s search event on Wednesday forgot the phone they were going to use to show off one of Bard’s features, and some employees reportedly weren’t even aware that it was taking place.
“Dear Sundar, the Bard launch and the layoffs were rushed, botched, and myopic,” one user wrote in a heavily upvoted post seen by CNBC, which refers to last month’s job cuts that eliminated 12,000 workers. Other Googlers reportedly posted memes comparing the past year at Google to a dumpster fire, while another employee said “pushing Bard to market in a panic validated the market’s fear about us.” Google’s stock took a pretty big blow after news about Bard’s error started going around, losing nearly $100 billion of its market value in just one day.
During a company all-hands meeting in December, Pichai and AI head Jeff Dean reportedly expressed concern about this very issue, stating that there’s a “reputational risk” that comes along with releasing an AI tool too early. The company seemed to change its tune after OpenAI’s ChatGPT tool became widely available, though, as it enlisted the help of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to help plan the company’s response.
Google’s ChatGPT competitor won’t see wider availability for weeks, but with Microsoft planning to upend web search with a bot that can provide annotated answers to various types of queries, it’s no wonder that Google — which is arguably the king of search — decided to show off Bard now, even if it was a tad earlier than expected.