Report: Google delays its biggest AI launch of the year, but it’s still coming soon

Google has delayed a series of top-secret artificial intelligence (AI) events that were set to showcase the company’s Gemini generative AI tool, according to The Information. If true, it’s another blow to Google’s efforts to compete with the likes of ChatGPT in the AI world – although Gemini is still expected to launch soon.

As detailed in a paywalled report from The Information, the Gemini event was due to take place just days from now, with the first one kicking off next week. Yet Google CEO Sundar Pichai has apparently taken the decision to push it back to January 2024, according to “two people with knowledge of the of the decision.”

The reason for the delay? Google was not confident that Gemini was able to “reliably handle some non-English queries,” The Information claims. Google wants to ensure its AI tool works well in a number of languages, and it’s clearly not quite there yet.

The events – due to be held in California, New York and Washington – would apparently have been “Google’s most important product launch of the year” owing to how keen Google is to catch up with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. That means that delaying them could be a sizable blow to Google, even if they do ultimately take place in early 2024.

In ChatGPT’s shadow

Google on a smartphone

(Image credit: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash)

Despite their imminent dates, Google hadn’t done much promotion for the events (perhaps due to concerns over Gemini’s abilities). In the end, that meant the company managed to avoid an embarrassing retraction or cancellation of already-announced events.

Yet Google isn’t likely to be very happy with the situation. The delay demonstrates how much the company is struggling to get on level terms with OpenAI, despite its vast wealth and engineering abilities. It’s also the second time in recent weeks that Google has reportedly had to delay its Gemini events.

It comes shortly after OpenAI reportedly had a major breakthrough with its own generative AI efforts. This tool is supposedly able to solve problems it has not been trained on, something that AI has traditionally found difficult, thereby ramping up the pressure on Google to hit back.

Google is likely to weave Gemini’s AI capabilities into its other products, such as Search, Google Assistant, Google Docs and more, The Information believes, so keep an eye out for AI updates if you regularly use the company’s apps. Just don’t expect to see these changes until early next year.

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Alex Blake

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