Daily Archives: 2023-03-09

Google dusts off the failed Google+ playbook to fight ChatGPT

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: It appears Google has successfully squeezed everyone who isn't a short-sighted min-maxing sociopath out of their organization. "Integrate the unfinished buzzword soup of suspect value into EVERYTHING! DO IT NOW!"
The Google integration monster rises with a new face.

Enlarge / The Google integration monster rises with a new face. (credit: 123pendejos / Ron Amadeo / OpenAI)

Years ago, circa 2011, Google was in a panic. Facebook was on the rise and Google was convinced the social network would soon swallow everything. To fight this blue scourge, then-Google CEO Larry Page issued a decree to his many employees: Your bonuses are now tied to Google's success in social! Build social features into everything! That memo resulted in a lot of ham-fisted social integrations across Google that were widely hated by the user base. YouTube comments were tied to Google+, and the site was flooded with spam. Making a new Gmail address also required making a Google+ account. Google Search got little "+1" buttons, and generally anonymous usage of Google products was impossible due to the "real name" policy. And that's just the Google+ stuff—earlier this memo resulted in a social network being built into Gmail called "Google Buzz" that all users were initially forced to join.

That forced integration strategy was an abject failure, and after a few years of Google's social panic, all of Google+'s integrations were removed, and the service was eventually shut down. That past failure isn't stopping Google from pulling out that losing playbook for its next great panic: Bloomberg's Julia Love and Davey Alba are reporting that Google wants to build ChatGPT-style features into everything. According to the article, Google has issued "a directive that all of its most important products—those with more than a billion users—must incorporate generative AI within months."

We wrote last month that Google's ChatGPT panic seemed a lot like its response to Google+, and several employees relayed that same sentiment to Bloomberg. Just like with G+, the report added that "current and former employees say at least some Googlers’ ratings and reviews will likely be influenced by their ability to integrate generative AI into their work."

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