According to CNBC(Opens in a new tab), which viewed the posts, staffers have been posting memes on Google’s internal forum Memegen about how the launch of the generative AI tool was handled, directly calling out CEO Sundar Pichai for the misstep. Memes which got a lot of upvotes included a picture of Pichai and said “Dear Sundar, the Bard launch and the layoffs were rushed, botched, and myopic.” One said “Sundar, and leadership, deserve a Perf NI,” which refers to the lowest score on Google’s internal evaluation system. “They are being comically short sighted and un-Googlely in their pursuit of ‘sharpening focus.'”
Another meme which included an image a bird doing a facepalm said “Rushing Bard to market in a panic validated the market’s fear about us.”
Google employees’ criticism echoes how Bard’s launch was received by the public. A day before Microsoft announced “the new Bing” powered by OpenAI’s popular chatbot technology, Google pre-empted this by announcing Bard. Yet, the blog post detailing the announcement was vague about its capabilities and timing of its release.
The day after Microsoft’s event, Google hosted its own event. The main purpose of the event was to highlight new features in Google Maps and Google Search, but it also wedged in a brief mention of Bard in light of Microsoft’s news. Google didn’t share much more detail about Bard, which further disappointed people expecting a strong counter response. That, combined with reports of Bard’s inaccuracy surfacing during the event, made Google look uncharacteristically unprepared and dropped Alphabet’s stock shares down by more than 9 percent.
Last month, Google laid off 12,000 of it employees, which underscored the frustration and resentment bubbling up in the internal forum. A meme of actor Nicolas Cage smiling said, “Firing 12k people rises the stock by 3%, one rushed AI presentation drops it by 8%.”
So now, it looks like Google is tasked with launching a generative AI tool that’s better than ChatGPT and winning back the approval of its employees.