Microsoft-Backed ChatGPT Was The ‘Best Gift To Google’: Partners

‘In a weird way, [ChatGPT] was the best gift to Google that anyone could give because it allowed Google almost permission—but also created urgency—around Google launching these AI technologies that they’ve been using for themselves for a decade-plus to other customers,’ says Sada Systems CEO Tony Safoian.


Tony Safoian, president and CEO of Sada Systems

When Microsoft-backed OpenAI launched ChatGPT in late 2022, the world took notice. Although some critics thought OpenAI’s successful launch put Google on its heels, nothing can be farther from the truth, according to Google Cloud partners.

“OpenAI and Microsoft really broke through the general public opinion and feeling of what AI could do by launching this amazing innovation which was ChatGPT. So regular people can understand what this is,” said Tony Safoian, president and CEO of Sada Systems, a global cloud solution provider and one of Google’s top partners in the world.

“In a weird way, that was the best gift to Google that anyone could give because it allowed Google almost permission—but also created urgency—around Google launching these AI technologies that they’ve been using for themselves for a decade-plus to other customers,” he said.

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[Related: Google CEO Sundar Pichai: 5 Boldest AI Remarks From Google Cloud Next Keynote]

Safoian said people were calling Google out, saying the cloud and search giant was going to lose market share to Microsoft in areas such as Google Search versus Microsoft Bing, which didn’t happen.

“We are having more conversations with almost every customer about the realm of the possible with AI, in which, Google Cloud is seen as the market leader,” the Sada Systems CEO said.

Google CEO: ‘We’ve Been Preparing For This Moment For Some Time’

Partners say Google has already been leveraging its massive amount and expertise around data—which is the fuel that drives generative AI—to create its products for years.

With millions of people using offerings like its search engine, Gmail and Sheets, Google became a master in training AI models and data privacy.

Matt Wursta, CEO and founder of Google partner Wursta, said when Microsoft-backed ChatGPT was launched, it was a shock for some people who didn’t understand what Google has been doing for years.

“When ChatGPT came out partnering with Microsoft, it felt like a surprise. But for the folks who’ve been watching Google, like we have for so long, Google has been doing this stuff and building it into their products, and effectively being ahead of the market in many places,” said Wursta.

“When you see all of the gen AI, Duet AI and features that are coming out with Vertex, the reality is— they’re in a much better position than their competitors to have a responsible and useful execution,” he said. “Google has had to learn—having seven or eight apps with billions of users already, but also having navigated all the data privacy things in that world—to be conscientious with data while simultaneously training AI models.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai echoed similar statements on stage during Google Cloud Next 2023 this week.

“[AI] will touch every sector, every industry, every business function, and significantly changed the way we live and work. This isn’t just the future,” Pichai said. “We are already starting to experience the benefits right now. As a company, we’ve been preparing for this moment for some time.”

New Google AI Launches

At Google Cloud Next 2023 this week, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company launched arguably more new AI offerings and enhancements to its flagships products—Workspace and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)—than ever before.

Duet AI, the company’s new AI-powered collaborator, was injected into Google Workspace, which includes Gmail, Docs, Slides, Meet and more. The AI technology was also integrated into GCP, which is the world’s third largest cloud company platform, along with popular products like BigQuery and Database Migration Service (DMS).

Google also launched brand new products and services inside its flagship AI platform, VertexAI. The company unveiled Vertex AI Extensions to help developers connect models to propriety data or third parties; Vertex AI Data Connectors to enable developers with read-only data access from various Google data sources; and Vertex AI Conversation to allow users to easily build and deploy chatbot and voice bots, just to name a few.

‘The Only Limit Is Your Imagination’

Sada CEO Safoian said Vertex represents a “breakthrough set of building blocks” for customers to build applications that solve real problems at a speed which was never possible before.

“You have your language models. You have your other data sources. You have your code builders, etc. And all of a sudden, in four to six weeks, you can solve a workflow problem that would have taken nine months to develop from scratch only a couple of years ago,” said Safoian. “We are in this weird environment where there’s no shortage of ideas or shortage of capability, really, as far as how fast things can be done.”

Sada, which was just named the 2023 Google Cloud partner global sales partner of the year, said Google’s AI capabilities are driving better customer ROI (return on investment) compared to the competition.

“We don’t want customers to get stuck in ideation land forever. We don’t want them to get enamored with things that look cool, but don’t produce ROI, like other vendors,” Safoian said.

By leveraging Google and channel partners, customers are experiencing real production applications of AI technology that produce business results that are measurable. “So Google has a distinct advantage in this category,” Safoian said. “Again, we’ve never been able to build production applications in four to six weeks in the history of time. Now you can. The only limit is your imagination.”

For Google CEO Pichai part, he said as exciting as the AI opportunity is, “we all need to be clear-eyed about the potential challenges.”

“That’s why Google Cloud is so committed to developing and deploying technologies responsibly, with privacy, security, and safety as the goal, and guided by our long-standing AI principles,” he said. “We will continue to be bold and responsible in our AI approach, and make these powerful tools accessible so everyone can benefit. We truly believe we are embarking on a golden age of innovation.”

Google Cloud Next 2023 runs from Aug. 29 to Aug. 31 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.