With one jam-packed week for both Microsoft’s Build and Google’s I/O developer conferences, there’s plenty of news to talk about, and not just about AI. What stuck out to me most, however, was the tepid reaction to Microsoft’s modern meetings demo and the ongoing discourse about Google’s Duplex demo.
This is a perfect example of the two companies’ differing approaches to developing, marketing, and pushing their respective technologies. Microsoft focuses on the enterprise, and then tries to figure out ways to bring its products back to consumers. Google is focused on internet users, and then tries to figure out ways to sell its offerings to businesses. Both have seen big successes and failures for these strategies. When it comes to AI, Microsoft comes off as super careful while Google looks tone deaf.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s Microsoft’s modern meetings demo, which showed real-time AI services helping solve a variety of problems:
Microsoft employees were clearly given a very specific script to follow (Update: Microsoft confirmed none were hired actors). That said, the demo was live. All the real-time transcription was happening on stage (if you look closely, you’ll notice minor mistakes in the logs) and all the software appeared to be reacting (more or less) as expected.
This was a polished demo, sure, but not too polished and frankly awkward at times, just like what you would expect from a corporation. That gave it a genuine feel, although it also meant it was nowhere near as exciting.
Here is Google’s demo, which I’m sure you’ve seen by now, of Assistant…