A senior Google executive said Thursday that the tech giant doesn’t need to rely on outside companies to develop advanced AI models. His remarks come after turmoil at OpenAI showed how much Microsoft is dependent on the tech startup.
“In short, we don’t don’t believe in outsourcing [research and development],” Kent Walker, the president of global affairs for Google & Alphabet, said at Semafor’s event, Finding Common Ground on AI: A Bicoastal Exchange.
Walker added: “We have something like 13,000 computer science PhDs at Google who are excited about this and focused on this new generation of work.”
His comments came a day after Google released its long-anticipated Gemini AI model, ratcheting up competition with ChatGPT maker OpenAI, which partners with Microsoft. The ability to develop AI “completely in-house” is a big advantage for Google, Semafor’s Reed Albergotti wrote last week.
“That advantage is especially important after OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was fired last month from the company under mysterious circumstances, only to be rehired after the startup came close to dissolving,” Albergotti wrote.
Walker pointed out that Google has been using AI for years and integrating it into its products including Maps, Translate, and Gmail.
“At Google we have a long history of being able to work with information out there that’s authoritative and accurate,” he said.
Google also has spent nearly a decade developing its own AI chips that it trained its new model on, giving it an edge in that field, Forbes wrote this week. It’s also a sign of the advantage that tech giants have over smaller tech companies. Google is uniquely positioned to use its custom chips, flexing its “scale, budget, and expertise,” the head of an AI research firm wrote.