Alphabet fends off search engine-fueled advertising slump

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The internet giant announced in January that it would cut 12,000 workers, or 6% of the global workforce, from payroll. As of March 31, Alphabet had 190,711 employees, up from 190,234 at the end of last year. The company’s layoffs didn’t officially go into effect until late last month.

At the same time, Google’s search engine seemed threatened by a wave of chatbots that captured the public’s imagination. In particular, tools from Microsoft and OpenAI, makers of the popular ChatGPT chatbot, are beginning to test Google’s mettle.

In March, Google released a chatbot called Bard to mixed reviews, but the company hasn’t made any money from the tool. The New York Times reported that Google will incorporate conversational AI capabilities into its flagship search engine in May, setting out to develop a new, more personalized search engine designed to take advantage of advances in AI. bottom.

Last week, Alphabet consolidated its main AI team into a single unit called Google DeepMind, allowing it to make faster progress in the field. The move brings together London-based AI lab DeepMind with Google Brain, part of the company’s research arm. Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, took over management of the group. Google’s chief research officer, Jeff Dean, oversaw Google Brain, which he co-founded.

On Tuesday’s earnings call, Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai said the company had made “good progress” in AI compared to the company’s transition from desktop to mobile computing more than a decade ago. Stated.

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