Google CEO Sundar Pichai is under fire from employees over how the company has handled its response to Microsoft’s AI.
Microsoft unveiled a version of Bing that is powered by an updated version of the tech behind ChatGPT, bringing the power of artificial intelligence to web search. When ChatGPT first burst onto the scene, Google was caught off guard and has been scrambling to play catchup, unveiling its Bard AI in an effort to remain competitive.
Unfortunately for the company, the launch did not go well. Bard got one of the questions wrong in the company’s ad, and one of the presenters at the big reveal forgot to bring a phone that was crucial to the demo, according to CNBC.
The missteps are not going over well with Google employees, many of whom have been taking to Memegen, the company’s internal forum, to complain. While employees often post memes on the forum to goodnaturedly poke fun at the company, many of the responses to Google’s AI efforts took a more serious tone.
“Dear Sundar, the Bard launch and the layoffs were rushed, botched, and myopic,” read one meme, accompanied by a serious picture of Pichai. “Please return to taking a long-term outlook.” The post received many upvotes.
“Sundar, and leadership, deserve a Perf NI,” read another popular meme, referencing the lowest employment performance review category. “They are being comically short sighted and un-Googlely in their pursuit of ‘sharpening focus.’”
One Googler even pointed out that the company’s handling of the unveil was confirming the industry’s fears that Google has lost its way and was caught flatfooted.
“Rushing Bard to market in a panic validated the market’s fear about us,” read a highly-rated meme.
Google is clearly in a position it is not used to being in, forced to play from behind and overcome a competitor’s technical advantage. Unfortunately, how Pichai and company have responded is not putting anyone’s fears to rest about the company’s ability to overcome this existential threat to its core business.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently commented that Microsoft ‘made Google dance,’ but he may not have realized just how uncomfortable a dance it is.