Google doubles down on generative AI

From Google I/O 2023, Enterprise Strategy Group's Paul Nashawaty comments on AI enhancements to Google search, photos, maps and Gmail, and how the changes could affect developers.

The developer world is expanding and becoming more exciting with all the new advancements in the tech stack. When organizations look at the past, present and future states of their applications, developers have many choices on how they manage projects. Traditional applications are under more pressure to modernize for the advantage of operational efficiencies. And moving to the cloud is often a focus for organizations. However, not all apps need to be refactored.

In the Google I/O 2023 keynote, we learned that the devil is in the details. The new breakthroughs in AI will improve the lives of billions of people and help organizations and sociality grow. And using AI will enable apps to be helpful for everyone, according to Google.

New Google AI enhancements

Several announcements included a number of generative AI updates, including launching a general-use large language model, and underlining how they help with application development. This is no surprise to me, as I highlighted this in my 2023 prediction blog.

During the Google I/O keynote, Google CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized how generative AI will make significant improvements to Google's products. He highlighted many areas where development teams are building enhanced applications throughout the Google portfolio.

Here are a few enhancements:

  • Gmail. In addition to Smart Compose, Help Me Write is a new functionality to autogenerate an email to respond to existing emails and is available as a new Workspace update.
  • Google Maps. Immersive View, previewed last year, enhances directions. It provides a bird's-eye view of the directions, as well as air quality, traffic and weather. It will launch in 15 cities by the end of the year.
  • Google Photos. This app now enables users to search photos for people and other things. Google edits 1.7 billion photos every month. Magic Eraser can remove unwanted distractions. Magic Editor -- a new offering expected to roll out later this year -- will modify photos to enhance the desired expectation.

These enhancements in the Google portfolio enable developers to see where generative AI can enhance their own application and developer experience. Also, the examples show how using AI improves knowledge and learning, boosts productivity and enables developers to innovate, as well as how it can be used responsibly. Clearly, the worlds of AI and application development are colliding.

PaLM 2 release

Another enhancement is PaLM 2, a new language model currently in preview, with support of more than 100 languages. It has been operating under the internal code name Unified Language Model. It also performed a broad range of coding and math tests, as well as creative writing tests and analysis. The latest PaLM2 model powers 25 products and features across different platforms. It offers multilingual text capabilities and helps developers collaborate around the world. Sec-PaLM has also been released to focus on security. Med-PaLM 2 focuses on medical use cases to enhance results. It can answer medical exam questions at what is described as an expert doctor level and is accurate 85% of the time.

Bard and Search advancements

Google shared advancements to Bard -- an automated collaborator -- and Search with generative experiences. The announcements include Bard being used for coding, math and logic. There is a multimodal version called Multi-Bard, which uses a larger data set and solves complex math and coding programs. Google DeepMind, focused on building safe and responsible models, was also highlighted. Pichai said DeepMind and the Brain team from Google Research will be joining forces as a single, focused unit to endeavor to solve the biggest challenges facing humanity. It is a very cool area of growth.

AI impact for developers

To use AI responsibly, Google is putting protections in place, including watermarking and metadata of AI-generated content. Also, the Google AI approach is bold and responsible -- this is meant to be focused on product development. Google has outlined seven principles for responsible AI use and will assess AI applications by asking, “Can the application be used for harm?”

While this post is heavily focused on AI, there are major impacts to the application developer community. We can view these advancements as areas where tech stacks are merging, but it is also important to understand how the technology will evolve and change the way developers create applications.

I wrote a post focused on GPT and the impacts to application development, and after attending Google I/O 2023, there is clearly a convergence of how generative AI is and will be used for new software development. Google has a powerful impact on the development community, and building a responsible approach to new code development methodologies will propel how future code can be developed forward.

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