Google shows off latest AI models as competition with OpenAI, Microsoft heats up

Tech giant rolls out new AI advancements at its developers conference, Google I/O

Google used its annual developers' conference, Google I/O 2024, on Tuesday to showcase its latest advances in artificial intelligence as the tech giant's competition with Microsoft-backed rival OpenAI continues to heat up.

During the presentation, CEO Sundar Pichai announced Google is revamping its search engine with a new "AI Overview" function for the U.S. starting this week, with plans to expand its availability to other countries in the near future.

Google Sundar Pichai

25 May 2023, Berlin: Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, attends a press event to announce Google as the new official partner of the Women's National Team at Google Berlin.? (Photo by Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Pichai said that thanks to Gemini, Google's family of AI models, the company has been able to improve search capabilities across its products. 

The CEO then demonstrated a forthcoming feature coming to Google Photos this summer, called "Ask Photos." The tool allows users to utilize AI for quickly accessing images or memories in the library upon request, such as when their child learned to swim.

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The Alphabet-owned tech giant also rolled out its latest Gemini 1.5 Pro model, and made it available to all developers globally starting on Tuesday.

Google also announced improvements to its Gemini Pro 1.5 model that is capable of making sense of a massive amount of data. On Tuesday, Google said it was doubling that amount, to 2 million tokens, meaning the AI potentially could answer questions when given thousands of pages of text or more than an hour of video to ingest.

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Alphabet, Inc.

The new AI features unveiled on Tuesday will help investors evaluate Alphabet's progress as it races against Microsoft, ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and other competitors to dominate the emerging technology.

Shares of Alphabet climbed during the product presentation and were last up about 1% at $172.50 on Tuesday afternoon.

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In another sign of fierce competition between OpenAI and Google, the online search leader teased Veo, an AI model that it claims to be its most powerful yet for creating videos on a simple text command.

OpenAI Logo

Google is in stiff competition with Microsoft-backed OpenAI for AI dominance. (Photo by Dilara Irem Sancar/Anadolu via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The company announced a scaled-down version of Gemini called 1.5 Flash, which aims to lower the cost of deploying AI and speed up responses. Like the more capable version, Flash can take in large amounts of data while being optimized for chat applications, video and image captioning.

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"We are in the very early days of AI platforms," Pichai said.

The demonstration of Google's latest AI developments came a day after OpenAI announced its new "flagship" model, GPT-40.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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