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May 14, 2024, 1:59pm EDT
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Google puts AI in search as tech giants jockey for supremacy

Insights from The Neuron, One Useful Thing, and The Verge

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On Monday, OpenAI led the pack with a new souped-up version of ChatGPT that can have real-time human-like conversations and chat in 50 languages. But the announcement was quickly followed by Google on Tuesday, which revealed it will integrate its flagship AI Gemini into Google Search and teased new voice and video chatbot features.

Meanwhile, Apple is racing to make upgrades to its AI assistant, Siri, to compete with its rivals’ latest offerings.

The flurry of updates follows the release of the buzzy — but criticized — Rabbit R1 personal assistant and the Humane AI pin. Ultimately the latest phase in the AI race could reshape how we find out new information online and language translation — and even change the phone in your pocket.

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Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Publishers are worried AI-powered search will eat their lunch

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Washington Post

The latest integrations of AI into search engines and vice-versa moves the online ecosystem closer to a system where AI makes search engines obsolete. Google announced plans to effectively fuse search and AI, rolling out its AI-generated summaries, known as “AI Overviews,” will be available to everyone in the US this week. But creators and publishers are worried the changes will crater their web traffic, with traditional search links replaced by the summaries, The Washington Post reported. Research firm Gartner predicts search web traffic will fall 25 percent by 2026; a search consultant told the Post: “Some people are going to just get bludgeoned.”

AI’s ability to speak like a human is quickly evolving

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Sources:  
The Neuron, One Useful Thing

OpenAI’s newest model, GPT-4o, can respond to a user’s voice prompts within an average of 320 milliseconds: “It’s uncannily human-like, perhaps too much so,” AI-focused newsletter The Neuron wrote. “But it means that for tasks you’d normally attempt with Siri, you should use ChatGPT instead.” The new features seem geared toward making AI more connected to human systems, which could give it more real-world application, AI scholar Ethan Mollick wrote. “This is where AI labs are leading us: to a near future of AI as coworker, friend, and ubiquitous presence.”

Hardware could be next AI trend

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Sources:  
Fast Company, The Verge

Tech companies are increasingly looking for ways to integrate AI into hardware. Fast Company wrote at the beginning of the year that 2024 would see AI “become an integral part of smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets.” Both the Humane AI Pin and Rabbit R1 received mostly negative reviews, with The Verge’s David Pierce predicting new ways to “interact with AI on your phone,” like high-tech headphones or smartwatches. Google and Apple could have a head start in that space, since they already make phones that have some level of AI integration. But ChatGPT’s app, with the new voice and video chat functions, could challenge their dominance.

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