July 21, 2024

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Google ‘won’t always find mistakes’ in AI, search VP Reid tells staff

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Liz Reid, vice president, search, Google speaks during an event in New Delhi on December 19, 2022.

Sajjad Hussain | AFP | Getty Images

Google’s new head of search said at an all-hands meeting last week that mistakes will occur as artificial intelligence becomes more integrated in internet search, but that the company should keep pushing out products and let employees and users help find the issues.

“It is important that we don’t hold back features just because there might be occasional problems, but more as we find the problems, we address them,” Liz Reid, who was promoted to the role of vice president of search in March, said at the companywide meeting, according to audio obtained by CNBC.

“I don’t think we should take away from this that we shouldn’t take risks,” Reid said. “We should take them thoughtfully. We should act with urgency. When we find new problems, we should do the extensive testing but we won’t always find everything and that just means that we respond.”

Reid’s comments come at a critical moment for Google, which is scrambling to keep pace with OpenAI and Microsoft in generative AI. The market for chatbots and related AI tools has exploded since OpenAI introduced ChatGPT in late 2022, giving consumers a new way to seek information online outside of traditional search.

Google’s rush to push out new products and features has led to a series of embarrassments. Last month, the company released AI Overview, which CEO Sundar Pichai called the biggest change in search in 25 years, to a limited audience, allowing users to see a summary of answers to queries at the very top of Google search. The company plans to roll the feature out worldwide.

Though Google had been working on AI Overview for more than a year, users quickly noticed that queries were returning nonsensical or inaccurate answers, and they had no way to opt out. Widely circulated results included the false statement that Barack Obama was America’s first Muslim president, a suggestion for users to…

2024-06-13 09:00:00

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