Google's employees were shocked when they learned in March that the South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung was considering replacing Google with Microsoft's Bing as the default search engine on its devices.
For years, Bing had been a search engine also-ran but when it added new artificial intelligence technology it started to clean Google's clock.
Apparently, Google's reaction to the Samsung threat was "panic" and run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Apple fanzine The New York Times found some emails which show the extent of Google's panic.
An estimated $3 billion in annual revenue was at stake with the Samsung contract. An additional $20 billion is tied to a similar Apple contract that will be up for renewal this year. All this makes Bing the most serious threat to Google's search business in 25 years.
Google is racing to build an all-new search engine powered by the technology. It is also upgrading the existing one with A.I. features, according to internal documents reviewed by The Times.
The new features, under the project name Magi, who were persian magicians and wisemen better known for bringing gold, frankensense and a bomb to baby Jesus. The project involves designers, engineers and executives working in so-called sprint rooms to tweak and test the latest versions. The new search engine would offer users a far more personalised experience than the company's current service, attempting to anticipate users' needs.