AI Briefing: Apple and Google feature AI-powered apps in their ‘best of 2023’ lists
All the AI hype has made its way into the app stores.
Last week, Apple and Google unveiled their lists for the best apps of 2023, both of which showcased a range of AI-powered apps. Although Apple didn’t include any in its main list, it curated a separate list featuring generative AI apps including ChatGPT, Canva and Picsart. Other apps — including Pinterest, Craft, Artifact and Sololearn — were also featured for their AI integrations.
“Apps are a reflection of culture, and in 2023, generative AI captured users’ collective imagination with its evolution unfolding in real time,” according to Apple’s statement. “Apps started integrating AI throughout the year in a variety of ways. Although many features are still in their infancy, they gave users a chance to see, firsthand, the technology in action and come to their own conclusions about the benefits and risks.”
As for Google’s list, the AI-powered chat app Character AI was named the “best with AI” while ChatGPT — a major competitor to Google Bard — was given an honorable mention. However, ChatGPT was the top app for the “Users’ Choice” category.
ChatGPT’s app only debuted in May, but the platform hit a major milestone last week by celebrating the one-year anniversary since OpenAI introduced the web version on Nov. 30, 2022. But Apple’s list also aptly points out apps like ChatGPT are by no means perfect — pointing to large language models’ tendency to “hallucinate” and the possibility that answers might include “offensive or socially insensitive replies.”
Numerous other generative AI apps have entered the market this year including chatbots like Anthropic’s Claude, Inflection AI’s Pi and Quora’s Poe. Meanwhile, others have focused on generative AI video tools such as Runway AI. However, yet others are still only accessible through Discord such as the AI image generator Midjourney and the newly released AI video editing startup Pika.
Apple’s annual list also features finalists like the video editing app DaVinci Resolve. Another is Duolingo, which has built a number of new AI-powered features into the language learning app this year using OpenAI’s same large language models that power ChatGPT.
“We have built far more with this technology over the past year than I thought we would a year ago,” said Klinton Bicknell, Duolingo’s head of AI. “It is in every part of the company now. We are using it both for a lot of these real-time features we’re talking about now, but also for a lot of features behind the scenes to generate things at scale to all of our free users.”
A number of other popular apps that added AI features this year saw a boost in 2023, according to data provided by data.ai, formerly known as App Annie. Google saw a 44% year-over-year increase in downloads in the first three quarter of 2023, rising from 79.2 million to 114 million. Microsoft Edge about doubled its downloads — from 20 million to 39.9 million — while Bing saw app downloads increase 2,340% from 1.5 million to 36.6 million. Other apps that with new AI features that saw download increases were Expedia, Shopify and Chegg. However, others with new AI features saw declines including Snapchat (-10%), Slack (-8%) and Instacart (-3%).
When data.ai analyzed a list of top generative AI apps across iOS and Android, ChatGPT had the most downloads with 112.4 million worldwide and 19.5 million in the U.S. Other generative AI apps with the most downloads this year in the U.S. included chatbots including Ask AI (9.8 million) and Character AI (8.7 million) along with the AI art generator Wonder AI Art Generator (6.2 million).
A look back at last week
- OpenAI announced the official return of Sam Altman, less than two weeks after the board’s attempted coup. In a blog post, OpenAI explained the updates and included messages from Altman and Bret Taylor, who became board chair of OpenAI after last month’s shakeup. (Taylor was the former Salesforce co-CEO and former board chair of Twitter until it was sold to Elon Musk.)
- The worlds of privacy and AI converged in California as the California Privacy Protection Agency debuted a draft of regulations for AI and other types of “automated decisions technology.” Although rule-making won’t begin until next year, the agency — created as part of the state’s Consumer Privacy Act — will discuss the regulations at its next board meeting this week.
- In other AI privacy news, researchers at Google published a new paper showing evidence of ChatGPT leaking sensitive personal data. The findings also explain issues such as how researchers found explicit content or got ChatGPT to provide verbatim content from books and poems — potentially fueling more concerns about the copyright implications for AI.
- Generative AI might not be the best for the fight against climate change. According to new research from the AI startup Hugging Face and Carnegie Mellon University, generating a single AI image consumed as much energy as charging a smartphone.
Prompted products: New AI announcements
- At its re:Invent conference last week, Amazon unveiled a new AI assistant called Q, which companies can customize with their own data and systems using dozens of built-in connectors.
- Jasper, the generative AI startup for sales and marketing teams, announced a new partner program specifically for marketing agencies.
- Mastercard debuted Shopping Muse, a new AI tool for retailers, that offered to help shoppers search for items based on conversational queries.
- Arc, an alternative web browser, added a new ChatGPT integration that will automatically suggest the chatbot for search queries instead of Google.
- For this year’s Spotify Wrapped, the streaming platform showcased newly added AI features like its AI DJ that curates and narrates users along their journey back through 2023.
- A heartwarming new commercial from Apple highlight the company’s newly introduced AI feature called Personal Voice, which lets people replicate their voice and store it on their phone for future use in case the person ever loses their voice. The ad was directed by filmmaker Taika Waititi and narrated by Tristram Ingham, a physician and disability advocate.
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