As Microsoft and OpenAI present fresh competition, Google is said to be swiftly working on an innovative AI-driven search engine. The New York Times reports that Google is in the early phases of developing a search service aimed at predicting user desires for a more personalized experience. The project lacks a definite timeline, but it is known that Google is also crafting new AI functionalities for its current search engine under the code name “Magi.”
What is Google’s Magi?
Google faces mounting competition from tech giants like Microsoft and OpenAI, which have made significant strides in AI development. Microsoft’s Bing has long offered AI features, prompting key Google partners, such as Samsung, to consider alternatives. Google also recognizes the potential of generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and hopes that Magi will maintain its search market dominance by attracting users with groundbreaking personalization.
New features under development comprise a Chrome functionality called “Searchalong.” This feature would let a chatbot scan the webpage being viewed, providing relevant information. For instance, when browsing Airbnb for accommodation, users could ask the chatbot for nearby attractions and activities. “GIFI” and “Tivoli Tutor,” two experimental features, would let users prompt Google Image Search to generate images and engage in chatbot conversations to learn new languages. Although some of these features have been demonstrated previously or are available on platforms like Duolingo, Google intends to unveil Magi next month, followed by more new features in the fall.
Why is Google building Magi?
Although Google has not confirmed Magi’s existence, it has acknowledged ongoing AI integration into its search engine. A company spokesperson expressed enthusiasm for the forthcoming AI-driven enhancements. Google has much at stake, with major partnerships potentially threatened if Magi fails to deliver on its AI promises.
What are the Challenges and Implications of the Magi?
Developing an AI-powered search engine poses numerous technical and ethical hurdles. Ensuring generated content quality and reliability, user data privacy and security, and AI model fairness and accountability are critical challenges. Magi has generated both excitement and concern among tech enthusiasts and media outlets. Google must address potential risks and drawbacks while meeting users’ and partners’ high expectations to succeed with its AI-enhanced search engine.
It is expected that the project will appear at I/O 2023. Google aims to offer Magi’s features to one million people in the US, with plans to expand to 30 million users by year’s end.
A Google spokesperson told Engadget that they have been incorporating AI into Google Search for years, enhancing result quality and introducing new search methods like Lens and multi search. While not all ideas lead to launches, the company is excited about new AI-powered features in Search and will share more details soon.
Google’s reliance on Magi is highlighted by Samsung’s recent consideration of making Bing the default search on its devices, which reportedly caused panic within Google. The search agreement with Samsung is worth about $3 billion annually, and this year, Google’s lucrative search agreement with Apple, often scrutinized for antitrust concerns, is up for renewal.