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Google CEO Defends AI Strategy, Emphasizes Long-Term Approach

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In a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg's Emily Chang, Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended his company's position and pace in the AI race.

The discussion, which took place on Google's campus ahead of next week's I/O developer conference, addressed investor fears that the search giant has fallen behind and whether Pichai is the right leader for this AI moment.

"The main thing Sundar was trying to across was: We've been here," says Marketing AI Institute founder / CEO Paul Roetzer, who broke down the interview for me on Episode 97 of The Artificial Intelligence Show

"We invented basically most of the innovations that are driving this forward. We've created the transformer. We built search on top of the transformer. We haven't been doing nothing all these years."

You can see the full interview in the video below. (Or keep reading for the most important highlights.)

 

While the interview is obviously a PR play from Google, it offers a number of insights into Google's AI initiatives.

Pichai emphasized that Google is playing the long game when it comes to AI, even if that means ceding the spotlight to attention-grabbing rivals.

Pichai even mentioned that Google wasn't the first company to do search or email or internet browsers—yet has a dominant position in all of them.

"So they're taking this approach much like Apple does," says Roetzer. "We don't have to be the first, but we can be the best."

While the interview was a highly produced affair—it opened with Chang riding a Google bike around the manicured grounds—she did pose some hard hitting questions.

She asked Pichai about the company's recent AI stumbles and if he was the right person to be steering the ship.

He mostly stuck to practiced talking points in response. But the fact that these issues were raised at all shows just how much the AI competition is heating up.

The stakes are certainly high, with The Information reporting that Google is scrambling to add hundreds of salespeople and engineers to AI teams as part of a massive enterprise push around Gemini and other AI products.

But if Pichai is feeling the pressure, he didn't let it show. The message was clear: Google has been in the AI game for the long haul, and they're not ceding the top spot anytime soon.

"I got the sense that his feeling is 'We created this movement. We weren't caught off guard by it overall. It's a long-term game and we intend to win that game,'" says Roetzer.

And that's the value of unpacking these types of interviews:

You get a look, no matter how polished or prepared, into the company's perspective on its place in the AI arms race.

"If you can get information from the people actually building AI, they're usually interviews worth listening to," says Roetzer.

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