Is Meta Smarter Than Google?

Mark Zuckerberg wants to build an AI universal translator for Meta: “This is going to be especially important when people begin teleporting across virtual worlds and experiencing things with people from different backgrounds.” He’s right, of course.

Google has been working on Google Translate for years, for good reason. According to Google, about 50% of the internet is written in English, but only an estimated 20% of the world’s population speaks English.

Google’s profits are proportional to the number of people who can use its service, so it should not surprise you to learn that Google Translate is thought to be the largest AI project in the world. Said differently, every incremental increase in translation quality is accretive to Alphabet’s shareholder value.

So, is Meta’s AI team smarter than Google’s? Should they spend Meta money replicating Google Translate, or should they partner with Google? If they start today, will Meta build a better universal translator faster than Google can improve its legacy system? If Meta is successful in beating Google Translate to true universal translation, will universal translation become commoditized (like cloud storage), or will it be a scarce resource and a competitive advantage?

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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