Google will release new AI-powered search tools next month, with even more features coming in the fall, reports The New York Times.
The new features will be available exclusively in the US, and will be released initially to a maximum of one million users, says the NYT. It’s not clear exactly what the tools will offer, but they will likely build on the conversational promise of Google’s experimental Bard chatbot. They’re being developed under the codename “Magi.”
The plans are part of Google’s efforts to meet the threat posed by new systems like Microsoft’s Bing chatbot and OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Many think these chatbots could one day replace traditional search engines like Google — despite their failings.
According to the NYT, Google’s position is so threatened that Samsung is considering replacing Google with Bing as the default search engine on its mobile devices. This deal is worth an estimated $3 billion in annual revenue to Google (the company has a similar deal with Apple worth roughly $20 billion), though it’s not clear how seriously Samsung is considering the switch. The company may have been been swayed by Microsoft’s AI work, but it might also be simply taking advantage of Google’s moment of weakness.
In addition to new features developed as project Magi, Google is also planning a more radical rebuild of its search engine. However, the Times says there’s “no clear timetable on when it will release the new search technology.”
Google is also reportedly developing a range of other AI tools, including an AI image generator called GIFI, a language learning system called Tivoli Tutor, and a feature called Searchalong that would integrate a chatbot into Google’s Chrome browser to answer questions related to the current web page. This is similar to Microsoft’s Bing AI sidebar for its Edge browser.