Google Assistant's Future Is In Question As Priorities Shift To Bard AI Chatbot

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According to a leaked internal memo, Google Assistant appears to be taking a backseat to the company's newest superstar Bard. Google launched Bard, a ChatGPT competitor, to the public last week.

The memo to Google employees on Wednesday was sent from Vice President and Lead of Google Assistant's business unit, Sissie Hsiao. Titled "Changes to Assistant and Bard teams," the memo spoke to changes within the organization that indicate the company will be making Bard a high priority. The leaked memo was obtained by CNBC.

"As the Bard teams continue this work, we want to ensure we continue to support and execute on the opportunities ahead," Hsiao remarked in the memo. "This year, more than ever, we have been focused on delivery with impact to our users."

Google bard screenshot

The departure of Jianchang "JC" Mao was also included in the memo, who will be leaving the company for personal reasons. Mao was cited by Hsiao as someone who "helped shape the Assistant we have today." Mao is being replaced by 16-year Google veteran Peeyush Ranjan, who previously held the role of Vice President in Google's commerce organization.

Along with that, it was also announced that Google Assistant Engineering Vice President Amar Subramanya will take over as lead engineer for the Bard team. The change in leadership suggests that the company may be leaning toward integrating Bard technology with its Google Assistant in the future.

Bard has not been without its fair share of birthing pains. A recent example is when Tom's Hardware reported that Bard had plagiarized one of its review articles. Following that report, Bard was asked by Paul Lily, a writer for HotHardware, if it ever plagiarized an article. Bard responded that it had not, and that the screenshot Tom's Hardware posted was fake.

There is no doubt that Bard has some major issues that need to be worked out. But with the popularity of AI technology at the moment, Google seems to be wanting to capitalize. The looming question is how the tech giant will make Bard profitable. Executives have mentioned using it as a search product, but have since tried to downplay that idea to employees in light of Microsoft's Bing Chat integration.