From www.engadget.com

Pranav Dixit

Google is reportedly building new AI-powered chatbots based on celebrities and YouTube influencers. The idea isn’t groundbreaking — startups like Character.ai and companies like Meta have already launched products like this — but neither is Google’s AI strategy so far.

Google’s celebrity chatbots will be powered by the company’s Gemini family of large language models according to The Information, which broke the story on Monday. The company is trying to strike partnerships with influencers as well as celebrities, and is also working on a feature that will let people create their own chatbots simply by describing their personalities and appearance — something that Character.ai already lets you do. A fun fact: Noam Shazeer, one of the co-founders of Character.ai, is a former Google engineer and one of the creators of “transformers,” the fundamental tech that made today’s generative AI possible.

It isn’t yet clear which celebrities or influencers Google might partner with. Meta’s chatbots, for instance, are based on personalities like TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, YouTube phenomenon Mr. Beast, Snoop Dogg, Tom Brady and Paris Hilton among others, while Character.ai’s characters include politicians, philosophers, fictional characters, and even objects like a block of cheese that talks. Google’s project is reportedly being led by a longtime executive called Ryan Germick who works on Google Doodles, and a team of ten.

It also sounds like Google’s bots could be just an experiment — according to the report, the bots might only show up on Google Labs, the company’s website for experimental products, instead of being available more broadly.

It isn’t clear why Google’s doing this. Meta’s AI chatbots based on celebrities never really took off despite the company stuffing them in every product it makes. As The Information pointed out, the company’s chatbot based on Snoop Dogg has only 15,000 followers on Instagram compared with 87.5 million followers who follow the human rapper.

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The post Google is reportedly building AI chatbots based on celebrities and influencers first appeared on www.engadget.com

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