Google’s confusing array of AI products

In a bid to dominate the AI market, Google has erratically rolled out an array of AI products, including Bard, Gemini, and various versions of Gemini like Gemini Advanced, Gemini 1.5 Pro, and Gemini for Workspace. 

Each product, while innovative, shares similar functionalities but with slight variations, leading to a complex matrix of options for users. The pace at which these products hit the market has left many struggling to differentiate between them, resulting in confusion about which product serves what purpose and how they are distinct from each other.

Internal and external criticism

Google’s approach to AI product launches has both confused users and drawn criticism from within its own ranks. Memes were shared internally, poking fun at the numerous AI models and names Google has been launching, showcasing a sense of exasperation with the company’s strategy. 

Externally, users and industry observers have taken to social media platforms to voice their concerns and poke fun at Google’s seemingly haphazard approach. Such widespread criticism hints at the growing consensus that Google’s strategy might be counterproductive, potentially diluting the brand’s reputation for innovation and clarity in the tightly competitive AI space.

Lack of clear communication

Unexplained product value

Google is facing criticism for its failure to articulate the distinct advantages or features of its AI products, notably the various versions of Gemini. Consumers and industry observers alike find themselves at a loss, unable to discern why one version might suit their needs better than another. 

For example, the differences between Gemini Business and Gemini Enterprise remain murky. Without clear communication, potential users do not understand whether the higher cost of Gemini Enterprise brings valuable additional features or if Gemini Business would suffice for their needs. Clear, user-focused explanations of each product’s value proposition are absent, leaving a gap in users’ understanding and potentially hindering adoption.

Inconsistent naming schemes

Google’s approach to naming its AI products has introduced additional layers of confusion. With names like Gemini, Gemma, Goose, Duet, and Duo, users find it challenging to track and differentiate between products. 

When a product line expands rapidly without a logical or intuitive naming convention, it becomes difficult for users to follow which product is which, let alone understand the specific use cases or benefits of each. 

This inconsistency complicates the user experience but also dilutes brand identity, making it harder for any single product to stand out or for users to develop loyalty to a particular AI solution offered by Google – which is particularly impactful in a highly competitive space.

Competition and public perception

Google vs. OpenAI

Google, despite its extensive expertise and resources in AI, appears to struggle with a coherent strategy, as seen in the proliferation of AI products with overlapping functionalities and confusing names. 

OpenAI, on the other hand, adopts a more streamlined approach, offering a less confusing suite of products which makes it easier for users to understand and engage with their offerings. The clarity in OpenAI’s product lineup and branding helps users to easily recognize and use their AI solutions, strengthening their position in the AI narrative.

As Google introduces an array of products like Bard, Gemini, and their numerous variants without clear differentiation, users find it challenging to understand and choose the appropriate tool for their needs. 

By contrast, OpenAI’s straightforward and user-friendly offerings like ChatGPT or DALL-E promote a smoother user experience, encouraging broader adoption and deeper engagement with their technology.

Risk to public trust and user engagement

When consumers face a barrage of products with unclear purposes or benefits, their trust in the company’s ability to deliver valuable and user-friendly solutions wanes. Trust is a key component in the adoption of new technologies, especially in the AI sector, where transparency and reliability are paramount for user acceptance.

The lack of clear communication and the perceived chaos in Google’s AI strategy could deter users from engaging with their AI technologies. Engagement is not merely about first-time use but involves ongoing interaction and integration of these technologies into daily tasks and operations. If potential users cannot understand what a product does or how it can benefit them, they are less likely to adopt it, which in turn affects the widespread utilization and impact of Google’s AI advancements.

Tim Boesen

March 14, 2024

4 Min