September 24, 2023

Google employees were paying attention this week to the company’s annual developer conference as well as the overwhelmingly positive response from Wall Street.

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When it came to assigning credit for the 4.3% stock pop that followed Google I/O, many employees sided with the company’s executives over its engineers., According to internal conversations seen by CNBC.

On Google’s internal site, Memegen, the most popular meme that came from the incident featured side-by-side images of the parent company. alphabetical share price. The slide, which has received thousands of “up-votes,” said on the left, “Exx Cost Cutting and Buy Back Stock,” above a chart showing the stock price going down. On the right, a chart appeared with the stock below the words, “England[ineers] Getting stuff done.”

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Several employees agreed with the sentiment in the comments section, praising their colleagues who worked to get products ready for prime time as part of a company-wide effort to compete in AI.

The incident came shortly after employees received CEO Sundar Pichai a stock award worth more than $200 million for 2022, as the company cuts jobs and cuts costs. He also criticized the company for authorizing a $70 billion buyback.

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Alphabet shares hit their lowest since August after Google announced on Wednesday its new general-use large language model (LLM) called PaLM 2, as well as a number of advances in AI technology powering Bard and Search. Jumped to higher levels and gained 11% for the week. , some of which CNBC previously reported.

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Google has been under pressure to showcase its generative AI technology since the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT late last year. OpenAI Backer Microsoft Google is embedding GPT-powered technology in its Bing search engine and other products, raising concerns that Google’s days of dominance in its flagship search market may be numbered.

Following an event in February in which Google promoted its AI chatbot Bard, the company’s share price sank 7%. Google employees responded by calling Pichai’s announcement “hasty” and “wrong”.

Google has since been working rapidly to bring its consumer AI services to market.

‘Take a shot when someone says AI’

After I/O, the staff showed enthusiasm for some of the Bard’s updates, particularly those geared towards coders such as “dark mode”, which makes the Bard’s display dark instead of light and often preferred by engineers. is an option. The crowd erupted in applause after the dark mode announcement.

One meme that received several hundred likes said “Things I learned from I/O” with the following text: “Google can still impress me.” It continued, “Great job for the people who worked so hard” and added, “As someone who hopes to make cynical memes full-time, it was great.”

In another meme, employees praised VP of Engineering Dave Burke for his Android 14 presentation and the authenticity he showed on stage, a departure from the canned corporate speech that is typical at these types of events.

Employees also poked fun at the frequent use of the acronym AI during Wednesday’s two-hour keynote speech. One highly popular meme consisted of a cartoon character with the text “I/O 2023 drives up the GOOG stock price” followed by “I just kept saying AI and it kept working.”

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Another meme said, “Let’s sprinkle some AI/ML on that,” and showed a large pile of powder with the text “Google I/O 2023.”

Other employees chose cultural references. One meme that was created was a play on the song “Old MacDonald” with the alternate words “pretty picha-ai said aiaii/o.” Another featured an image of “That ’70s Show” character Kitty Forman reluctantly pouring wine with the text, “Take a shot when someone says AI during I/O.”

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Alphabet shares are up 33% this year after losing close to 40% of their value in 2022.

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