Google Mentioned to be In Talks to Spend money on AI Chatbot Startup Character.AI

Alphabet’s Google is in talks to take a position tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in Character.AI, because the fast-growing synthetic intelligence chatbot startup seeks capital to coach fashions and sustain with consumer demand, two sources briefed on the matter advised Reuters.

The funding, which could possibly be structured as convertible notes, in line with a 3rd supply, will deepen the present partnership Character.AI already has with Google, during which it makes use of Google’s cloud providers and Tensor Processing Models (TPUs) to coach fashions.

Google and Character AI didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Based by former Google workers Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, Character.AI permits folks to speak with digital variations of celebrities like Billie Eilish or anime characters, whereas creating their very own chatbots and AI assistants. It’s free to make use of, however presents subscription mannequin that prices $9.99 (roughly Rs. 831) a month for customers who need to skip the digital line to entry a chatbot.

Character.AI’s chatbots, with numerous roles and tones to select from, have appealed to customers ages 18 to 24, who contributed about 60 p.c of its web site visitors, in line with information from Similarweb. The demographic helps the corporate place itself because the purveyor of extra enjoyable private AI companions, in comparison with different AI chatbots from OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

The corporate beforehand mentioned its web site had attracted 100 million month-to-month visits within the first six months since its launch.

Character.AI can also be in talks to lift fairness funding from enterprise capital buyers, which may worth the corporate at over $5 billion (roughly Rs. 41,605 crore), sources mentioned. In March, it raised $150 million (roughly Rs. 1,248 crore) in a funding spherical led by Andreessen Horowitz at $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,321 crore) valuation.

The talks with Google are ongoing and phrases of the deal may change, mentioned the sources, who requested anonymity because the discussions are non-public.

Google has been investing in AI startups, together with $2 billion (roughly Rs. 16,642 crore) for mannequin maker Anthropic within the type of convertible notes, on high of its earlier fairness funding. Anthropic makes use of Google’s cloud providers in addition to its newest model of TPUs.

That’s a part of a current pattern during which large tech cloud providers suppliers are putting offers with AI corporations to entice them to make use of sure cloud or {hardware} within the computer-intensive race to construct fashions and serve shoppers, together with Microsoft investments in OpenAI and Google and Amazon’s bets on Anthropic.

US Federal Commerce Fee chair Lina Khan mentioned at an occasion in San Francisco final week that the company is wanting into cloud supplier investments in AI startups to look at any anti-competitive behaviors.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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