Google Assistant Division Is Reorganizing To Focus On Bard – Slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Google is reshuffling the reporting structure of its virtual assistant unit — called Assistant — to focus more on Bard, the company’s new artificial intelligence chat technology. In a memo to employees on Wednesday, titled “Changes to Assistant and Bard teams,” Sissie Hsiao, vice president and lead of Google Assistant’s business unit, announced changes to the organization that show the unit heavily prioritizing Bard. “As the Bard teams continue this work, we want to ensure we continue to support and execute on the opportunities ahead,” Hsiao said in the email. “This year, more than ever, we have been focused on delivery with impact to our users.”

Jianchang “JC” Mao, who reported directly to Hsiao, will be leaving the company for personal reasons, according to the memo, which was viewed by CNBC. Mao held the position of vice president of engineering for Google Assistant and “helped shape the Assistant we have today,” Hsiao wrote. Taking Mao’s place will be 16-year Google veteran Peeyush Ranjan, who most recently held the title of vice president in Google’s commerce organization, overseeing payments.

The new leadership changes suggest that the Assistant organization may be planning on integrating Bard technology into similar products in the future. […] As part of Wednesday’s change, Google Assistant engineering vice president Amar Subramanya will now lead engineering for the Bard team, the email said. Trevor Strohman, who previously led engineering efforts for Bard, will continue as an “Area Tech Lead” for Bard, reporting to Hsiao. Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo ponders if the Google Assistant is facing a “looming Google shutdown.”

“If we assume the idea of the Google Assistant — a voice assistant that helps you do things — isn’t completely dead at Google, you could imagine a future where Bard’s language model helps it understand what you want to do and will do it, but it feels like the service is years away from something like that,” writes Amadeo. “The Assistant today doesn’t have language model problems, though, just voice recognition problems, and Bard won’t help with that.”

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