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Business News/ News / Google Consolidates Teams With Aim to Create AI Products Faster
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Google Consolidates Teams With Aim to Create AI Products Faster

Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai announced changes to Google’s workplace teams structure, saying the moves will help the company develop artificial intelligence products and services faster and more efficiently.

Google Consolidates Teams With Aim to Create AI Products FasterPremium
Google Consolidates Teams With Aim to Create AI Products Faster

(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai announced changes to Google’s workplace teams structure, saying the moves will help the company develop artificial intelligence products and services faster and more efficiently.

In a note to employees, also published Thursday in a blog post, Pichai said the models, research and responsible AI teams would be consolidated under the company’s flagship artificial intelligence division, Google DeepMind.

To accelerate work on Google’s AI models — Gemini and Gemma — employees working on the technology across Google Research and Google DeepMind will unite as one team, which will also consolidate the expensive computing power needed to train and build the systems under one arm of the company. Responsible AI teams across the business will also move under Google DeepMind.

A new unified Platform and Devices team, meanwhile, will bring together efforts across hardware, software and AI teams at Google — including those working on products such as Android, Chrome, search and photos, Pichai said. The group will also include employees working on computational photography and on-device AI features like Google’s recently launched “circle to search" AI tool it announced in partnership with Samsung Electronics Co.

The changes, Pichai wrote, “will help us work with greater focus and clarity toward our mission." 

While Google has intensified its work on generative AI to catch up to the allied effort of Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI, which many perceive as being more advanced, the company also has been shifting priorities and lowering costs. For the past few months, that has resulted in a series of cascading job reductions, creating a grim new reality of insecurity for employees. In January, the company cut hundreds of people working on its digital assistant, hardware and engineering teams.

At the same time, Google framed the reorganization as necessary to more sharply focus on launching AI tools and services. Earlier this year, the company rolled out a new version of its powerful AI model, Gemini 1.5 Pro, which it said could handle a larger amount text, video and even audio outputs compared with the competition. It also rebranded its chatbot as Gemini and released a more open large language model to help the company gain favor with the open-source community.

But Google has also faced challenges, as when the company was broadly criticized over its AI image generation tool creating ahistorical images of people. Pichai also announced a central company Trust and Safety team on Thursday that would invest more in testing and evaluating of AI systems — a move that appears to be aimed at addressing the risks associated with rolling out consumer-facing AI products by centralizing accountability in one team. 

In his note, Pichai also alluded to an employee protest this week against Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion joint contract with Amazon.com Inc. to provide the Israeli government and military with AI and cloud services. Google on Wednesday fired 28 employees involved in the protest.

“We have a culture of vibrant, open discussion that enables us to create amazing products and turn great ideas into action," Pichai wrote. “But ultimately we are a workplace and our policies and expectations are clear: This is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics."

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 19 Apr 2024, 01:23 AM IST
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