Google CEO Sundar Pichai on stage at I/O 2023. | Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge
The arrival of ChatGPT last year sent a rare shiver through Google’s spine. For years the company had positioned itself as a leader in the development in artificial intelligence. Suddenly, though, a product from the upstart OpenAI rocketed to tens of millions of monthly users — and observers began asking whether Google had squandered its lead.
Within weeks, leaders at the company declared a “code red” — a signal that the time to begin shipping AI features was now. (It was widely reported that CEO Sundar Pichai declared the code red, but he later told me that it wasn’t the case.)
A handful of products have shipped since — most notably Bard, the company’s ChatGPT analog. But on Wednesday, at the company’s annual developer conference, the…