Google to use new AI models for ads and to help YouTube creators

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on-stage during the Google I/O keynote session at the Google Developers Conference in Mountain View, California, on May 10, 2023. 

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Google‘s effort to rapidly add new artificial intelligence technology into its core products is making its way into the advertising world, CNBC has learned.

The company has given the green light to plans for using generative AI, fueled by large language models (LLMs), to automate advertising and ad-supported consumer services, according to internal documents.

Last week, Google unveiled PaLM 2, its latest and most powerful LLM, trained on reams of text data that can come up with human-like responses to questions and commands. Certain groups within Google are now planning to use PaLM 2-powered tools to allow advertisers to generate their own media assets and to suggest videos for YouTube creators to make, documents show.

Google has also been testing PaLM 2 for YouTube youth content for things like titles, and descriptions. For creators, the company has been using the technology to experiment with the idea of providing five video ideas based on topics that appear relevant.

With the AI chatbot craze speedily racing across the tech industry and capturing the fascination of Wall Street, Google and its peers, including Microsoft, Meta and Amazon, are rushing to embed their most sophisticated models in as many products as possible. The urgency has been particularly acute at Google since the public launch late last year of Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT raised concern that the future of internet search was suddenly up for grabs.

Meanwhile, Google has been mired in a multi-quarter stretch of muted revenue growth after almost two decades of consistent and rapid expansion. With fears of a recession building since last year, advertisers have been reeling in online marketing budgets, wreaking havoc on Google, Facebook and others. Specific to Google, paid search advertising conversion rates have decreased this year across most industries.

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Beyond search, email and spreadsheets, Google wants to use generative AI offerings to increase spending to boost revenue and improve margins, according to the documents. An AI-powered customer support strategy could potentially run across more than 100 Google products, including, Google Play Store, Gmail, Android Search and Maps, the documents show.

Automated support chatbots could provide specific answers through simple, clear sentences and allow for follow-up questions to be asked before suggesting an advertising plan that would best suit an inquiring customer.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

Google recently offered Google Duet and Chat assistance, allowing people to use simple natural language to get answers on cloud-related questions, such as how to use certain cloud services or functions, or to get detailed implementation plans for their projects.  

Google is also working on its own internal Stable Diffusion-like product for image creation, according to the documents. Stable Diffusion’s technology, similar to OpenAI’s DALL-E, can quickly render images in various styles with text-based direction from the user.

Google’s plan to push its latest AI models into advertising isn’t a surprise. Last week, Facebook parent Meta unveiled the AI Sandbox, a “testing playground” for advertisers to try out new generative AI-powered ad tools. The company also announced updates to Meta Advantage, its portfolio of automated tools and products that advertisers can use to enhance their campaigns.

On May 23, Google will be introducing new technologies for advertisers at its annual event, Google Marketing Live. The company hasn’t offered specifics about what it will be announcing, but it’s made clear that AI will be a central theme.

“You’ll discover how our AI-powered ads solutions can help multiply your marketing expertise and drive powerful business results in today’s changing economy,” the website for the event says.

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