At Sundar Pichai’s Google, AI is Everything

Posted November 15th 2016


via Fast Company

Pichai took charge at a pivotal moment. In August 2015, cofounder Larry Page split what had been Google into multiple units that now live under a new corporate umbrella, Alphabet, run by Page as CEO. Pichai’s Google is responsible for most consumer services and products, including search, Gmail, YouTube, Android, and hardware such as phones. With his distinctive blend of enthusiasm and curiosity, he has shuffled many of the business’s moving parts, putting longtime Googlers in new roles and hiring fresh talent to pursue a forward-looking interpretation of the company’s foundational mission: organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.

As Fast Co‘s Harry McCracken writes, Pichai’s “key ambitions are bound by a core prediction: that the world is moving from the smartphone age into an ‘AI-first’ era, in which Google products will help people accomplish tasks in increasingly sophisticated, even anticipatory ways.” Virtual assistants appear to be the logical evolution of Google search. Google has embedded Google Assistant into its Google Home and new Pixel phone, to rival Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s ecosystem. Although its competitors have a head start in the space, Google “has more experience teaching computers to understand language, photos, and other forms of information than anyone else. Google Assistant will be able to call on those technical underpinnings as it battles it out in the marketplace,” writes McCracken.