We have to do Bard because everyone else is doing AI; everyone else is doing AI because we’re doing Bard.
The thing is, there really is an important area of AI research for Google, namely, “How do we keep AI nonsense out of search results?”
Google’s search quality has been in steady decline for years. I blame the company’s own success. When you’ve got more than 90 percent of the market, you’re not gonna grow by attracting more customers — your growth can only come from getting a larger slice of the pie, at the expense of your customers, business users and advertisers.