Google is rebuilding its search engine around AI and unveiling new image and video tools

Google has unveiled a range of new AI-powered products, including new video and image creation tools, and has begun rebuilding its search engine around generative AI, powered by the company’s Gemini AI model.

The tech giant used the opening of its annual developer conference, Google I/O, to also preview Project Astra, which Google is calling the “future of AI assistants” that could see, understand and respond to the world around them via a smartphone camera. or smart glasses.

Sir Demis Hassabis, the British founder of Google’s AI company DeepMind, demonstrated on stage that the so-called AI agent could identify objects it saw when someone scanned an office space with a phone camera, and suggest creative ideas based on what he saw. saw on a computer screen and reminded a user where his glasses were on a desk.

Sir Demis said the aim was to create a ‘universal AI agent’ that was ‘helpful in everyday life’ by being able to ‘record and understand what it sees and respond to it’.

Elsewhere, Google confirmed it was expanding a test it conducted in Britain to bring generative AI responses and suggestions to search results, and would now roll out the tool broadly in the US, saying it would use AI to “take on more of the preparatory work.” from the search”.

The tool could also split longer searches into multiple parts and display all the different parts in one search result, and confirmed that people will soon be able to submit searches using a video.

The company said this was the start of a “new era for search” powered by generative AI, with CEO Sundar Pichai calling it the “most exciting era of search yet”.

The company also announced that it would launch a new video creation tool called Veo, which would convert text prompts into longer-form videos, as well as Imagen 3, an AI image maker that also responded to text prompts.

As part of its development of creative tools, Google said it was working with musicians like Wyclef Jean and songwriter Justin Tranter, who had been creating new music using Google’s Music AI Sandbox to create new sounds, and with filmmaker Donald Glover who was using of the company’s text-to-video AI tools.

The new creation tools come amid ongoing concerns about AI-generated content, especially deepfake images and videos that have been used to spread disinformation.

In a blog post about the new tools, Google said: “We are careful not only to advance the state of the art, but to do so in a responsible manner. That’s why we’re taking steps to address the challenges posed by generative technologies and help enable people and organizations to work responsibly with AI-generated content.

“For each of these technologies, we’ve worked with the creative community and other external stakeholders, gathering insights and listening to feedback to help us improve and deploy our technologies in safe and responsible ways.

“We conducted safety tests, applied filters, installed guardrails and put our safety teams at the heart of the development.

“Our teams are also pioneering tools such as SynthID, which enables invisible digital watermarks to be embedded in AI-generated images, audio, text and video. And starting today, all videos generated by Veo on VideoFX will be watermarked by SynthID.

“The creative potential for generative AI is enormous and we can’t wait to see how people around the world will bring their ideas to life with our new models and tools.”

The conference keynote also saw updates to the tech giant’s flagship Gemini AI model, including a “lightweight” model called 1.5 Flash, and improvements to the 1.5 Pro model, which Google said is now “increasingly could follow more complex and nuanced instructions’ and understand the context. for a longer conversation window.

Mr Pichai described the developer conference as “Google’s version of (Taylor Swift’s) Eras tour”, adding that the tech giant was in its “Gemini era”.

Mr. Pichai showed off some new ways Google was integrating Gemini into its popular apps, including a new Ask Photos tool for the Google Photos app, which used users’ text prompts to find specific images or create photo collections, or ask Gemini to get a summary of all recent emails from a specific sender or on a topic if a user wants to stay up to date.

The announcements come as a new wave of innovation is expected around generative AI, especially from the world’s largest tech companies.

The Chat GPT website

ChatGPT maker OpenAI unveiled updates to the popular chatbot on Monday (John Walton/PA)

On Monday, ChatGPT maker OpenAI unveiled updates it made to the popular chatbot, including making the assistant better able to understand a combination of text, audio and visual input and have more human-like conversations.

Microsoft has its own developer conference next week and Apple’s in early June, with both companies also expected to focus heavily on their development and integration of generative AI tools.

It comes as questions and concerns remain over how best to regulate the fast-evolving technology, with governments around the world debating how best to regulate emerging markets, while critics warn they could risk are falling behind due to the pace of change within the sector.

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