A Bard’s Tale: Googlers Criticize Sundar Pichai’s Hasty Decision

From writing love letters to code, ChatGPT has become the answer to every question. Its rising popularity has frightened rivals and companies have tried to launch rival AI-powered services that can compete with the chat bot. One such example is Bard, Google’s AI-powered chatbot that was supposed to eventually take down ChatGPT. But what was meant to disrupt the competition has instead brought on more headache for Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

According to recent reports, Googlers are none too pleased with Bard’s hasty launch and the ensuing madness. In its very first demo, Bard made a factual error, which was quickly noticed by netizens and trended on prime time news. To add insult to injury, during a press conference in Paris, a presenter was unable to go ahead with the demo after misplacing the phone.

Google made the news for its mega-blunders and lost over $100 million in market value. While it was earlier being predicted that ChatGPT could end up replacing the Google search engine, these debacles gave people probable cause to believe the predictions. And directly under the line of fire was Pichai.

Pichai released Bard on February 7Sundar Pichai has come under fire for Bard’s hasty release and blunders. (Sundar Pichai in Milan in 2014; Image Credit – Maurizio Pesce/ Wikimedia Commons)CEO Sundar Pichai’s Bard Moment

On February 6, in a blog post, Sundar Pichai introduced Bard to the world. The announcement came just a day before Microsoft’s scheduled event on the integration of ChatGPT to its Bing search engine. Clearly, Google wanted to strike while the iron was hot. But unfortunately, they missed the mark by a long mile.

Bard’s launch created the buzz Google wanted. However, a guffaw in Paris on Wednesday, and a GIF ad on Twitter with factual errors were not missed by eagle-eyed reviewers.

Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics → https://t.co/fSp531xKy3 pic.twitter.com/JecHXVmt8l

— Google (@Google) February 6, 2023

Bard noted that the James Webb Telescope took the very first picture of an exoplanet in 2023. In reality, the first photograph of an exoplanet was captured by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory in 2004. While several experts pointed out the error on the social media site, it was officially reported by Reuters.

This was followed by the Paris press conference. The presenter could not go ahead with the presentation after misplacing the phone that was to be used to give a demo of the new Lens feature. Deleting the entire livestream of the showcase just reinforced the magnitude of the error and Alphabet lost almost $120 million in market value.

Internal Criticism Over Bard’s Error-Filled Ways

According to CNBC, Google’s internal forum is usually filled with light-hearted banter and conversation. But the tone has changed over the last week, as Googlers as Googlers gave voice to their frustration.

Most are, at the very least, embarrassed by Google’s rushed decision and the Bard’s blunders. One meme allegedly included a picture of Sundar Pichai and read, “Dear Sundar, the Bard launch and the layoffs were rushed, botched, and myopic.”

Another post mentioned that Pichai and the leadership team deserved the lowest score in the company’s performance assessment system.

One meme went straight to the heart of the matter and pointed out that by rushing Bard, the company validated the panic in the market and shot itself in the foot.

“In their pursuit of sharpening focus, they are being comically short-sighted and un-Googley,” said another one.

Workers called for a closer look at the bigger picture and criticized the hasty release of a clearly in-development project. Employees are furious that the hasty decision has caused more harm than help, and combined with the Google layoffs there is no shortage of hurt feelings.

The workers urged Pichai to concentrate on the bigger picture and to make decisions accordingly. ChatGPT’s arrival has shaken up the search engine ecosystem and rival Microsoft’s plans to integrate it into its Bing search engine has reportedly given Google sleepless nights.

Leaders are expected to have exemplary problem-solving and communication skills. Googlers appear to be disappointed in Sundar Pichai as a leader, after witnessing Bard’s inadequate capabilities. Bard was supposed to be a direct competitor to ChatGPT but with the rocky start it has undergone, it remains to be seen how Google will save face.

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