Axios reported that Google wants to improve Assistant by adding features powered by generative AI. In an email acquired by the website, Google advises staff that it has already started looking on a “supercharged” Assistant powered by the newest large language models (LLM), similar to the technology used by ChatGPT and Google’s own Bard chatbot. According to the email, “a portion of the team has already started working on this, beginning with mobile.”
Google claims to be consolidating the Assistant team as part of this reorganisation. The company is “eliminating a small number of roles,” according to the email obtained by Axios, though it’s not clear how many employees would be impacted. Axios claims that Google fired “dozens” of employees. The Verge contacted Google to corroborate this, and if we learn more, we’ll update this post.
Peeyush Ranjan, the vice president of Google Assistant, and Duke Dukellis, the company’s product director, wrote in the email, “We remain deeply committed to Assistant, and we are optimistic about its bright future ahead.”
Although Google doesn’t go into much detail about the capabilities it intends to add to Assistant, there are some very significant possibilities. For instance, Assistant might make use of the same technology that drives its AI chatbot, Bard, potentially enabling it to respond to queries using data it gathers from the internet.
According to Google spokesperson Jennifer Rodstrom, “hundreds of millions of people use the Assistant every month, and we’re committed to giving them high-quality experiences.” The business stated, “We’re excited to see how LLMs can help us boost Assistant and make it even better.”
Although it’s still unclear when Google intends to integrate this technology into its smart home products, I don’t believe many people, including myself, would be fully happy with it given the potential privacy consequences.