Forget Putting Mobile First, it’s All About AI These Days: Google CEO

CEOs still trying to adapt their marketing strategies to the mobile age better hurry. According to Sundar Pichai, the world has moved on.

We’re now in artificial intelligence age, the Google CEO told the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco, before proceeding to describe some new product innovations that could have profound effects on the way companies everywhere do business.

“Mobile made us reimagine every product we were working on. We had to take into account that the user interaction model had fundamentally changed, with multi-touch, location, identity, payments and so on,” he said.

“Similarly, in an AI first world, we are rethinking all our products and applying machine learning and AI to solve user problems. And we are doing this across every one of our products.”

Innovation in mobile technology already has helped the world’s second-biggest company by market value attain 2 billion users for its Android mobile operating system. It also has 500 million active Google Photo users, Pichai said.

“in an AI first world, we are rethinking all our products and applying machine learning and AI to solve user problems.”

Growth in mobile has empowered customers more generally, forcing companies to enhance their e-commerce offerings and personalize their marketing strategies.

Pichai said AI technology is now being applied to enhance Google’s existing offerings, such as search. But also is behind a series of new products, including Smart Reply and Google Lens.

Smart Reply, he said, is about to be rolled out to 1 billion of the company’s email customers. It automatically provides users with suggested replies to messages to an impressive degree of sophistication.

Great for CEOs trying to manage their inbox, but the wider implications for the potential automation of customer service functions are far more profound.

Pichai also officially launched Google Lens, which uses machine learning technology to help users understand more about objects they can see. For example, Pichai said the technology could be used to identify a type of flower simply by pointing a smartphone camera at the flower.

Similarly, a user could point their phone at the username and password information stuck on a Wi-Fi router and have it automatically connect to the Internet, without having to get down on their hands and knees and punch in the details manually.

Again, the implications for business here are almost frightening. Customers will be able to get all the information they need about a restaurant simply by pointing their phone at it from the other side of the street. The same capability could be applied to all kinds of products, giving users ratings, price comparisons, product histories and any other information about a product before they buy.

Meanwhile, Pichai didn’t discuss what Google Lens could mean for people’s privacy rights. But ethical questions aside, the technology is already here and that means businesses must deal with its implications.

And some already are. As recently reported by Chief Executive, a growing number of CEOs are moving on from e-commerce and digital marketing and adopting more advanced technologies, including AI, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, robotics and 3D printing.

If your customers had access to AI technology, what kinds of capabilities do you think they would benefit from? Especially in a B2B environment, you could be the leading innovator in your sector by finding ways to use this kind of technology to streamline process flow and move customers closer to the sale faster.

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Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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