Google shares pop 5% after company announces Gemini AI model


Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, speaks on artificial intelligence during a Bruegel think tank conference in Brussels, Belgium, on Jan. 20, 2020.

Yves Herman | Reuters

Shares of Google popped more than 5% Thursday, a day after the company announced its latest artificial intelligence model called Gemini that will compete with products from OpenAI, Microsoft and Meta.

The stock is on pace for its best day since Aug. 29. Wells Fargo’s trading desk said the announcement “should be enough to quiet down the ‘where is GOOG on AI’ chatter” and that Gemini “is clearly causing a pre-mkt bid to GOOGL this morning as sell side notes read positive.”

But Wells Fargo’s trading desk also said the big question is what Google’s monetization for Gemini looks like. “In short, I’d summarize GOOG as proving that they still have some bite.”

Analysts at Bank of America said Wednesday that Alphabet has been under pressure from concerns over Google’s AI capabilities this year, so a “well-branded,” competitive model could have upsides for its consumer search activity and Cloud enterprise sales.

“We think Google has strong AI capabilities, and data suggesting that Google has best in class, proprietary, AI capabilities can be positive for the shares in 1H’24,” the analysts wrote in a note.

It’s still unclear whether Google plans to monetize Gemini through all of its products in the long term, though it will start by licensing Gemini to customers through Google Cloud later this month.

Google executives said Gemini outperforms OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 chatbot, but the company didn’t share how it compares with OpenAI’s latest model GPT-4 Turbo. Still, Gemini shows there’s an opportunity to further monetize AI.

Microsoft, for example, recently launched Copilot, powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which is embedded in Word, Excel and other Office programs and will cost $30 per person per month. Piper Sandler analysts said in October that Copilot could add up to more than $10 billion in annualized revenue for Microsoft by 2026.

JPMorgan analysts wrote that while Wall Street “mostly yawned” at the announcement Wednesday, they are “encouraged” to see Google’s progress in “this major technology shift.” They note, however, that there will be pushback over “uncertainty around the monetization path in Search.”

“While it remains early, the Gemini launch represents significant innovation for Google as we enter year 2 of commercialized and widely distributed availability of Generative AI,” the analysts wrote in a Thursday note.

Analysts at KeyBanc said they view Gemini as the “culmination” of Google’s many AI announcements this year, but that they believe it will take time for AI to meaningfully influence its growth and profitability.

“Today’s announcements suggest that Gemini is still making its way into core products like Search, so we would advise patience in inferring impact to estimates,” they wrote in a note Wednesday. “While we believe 2024 will be more about results than headlines, we also believe it is still early innings in changing advertiser, consumer, developer, and enterprise behaviors.”

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom and Jennifer Elias contributed to this report.

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