Leaks suggest Google is working on its own first-party tracking tags to use alongside its in-development Finder Network. Illustration: The Verge

Google invests almost $400 million in ChatGPT rival Anthropic
Google will get a stake in Anthropic through this deal, but doesn’t require the startup to spend the funds buying cloud services from Google.

According to a person familiar with the deal, Alphabet Inc.’s Google has invested almost $400 million in artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, which is a fierce rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Last month, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, held several meetings with company executives. The topic: a rival’s new chatbot called ChatGPT.

Google and Anthropic denied to comment anything about the investment deal, but separately announced a partnership in which Anthropic will use Google’s cloud computing services. The deal is said to be the most recent alliance between a tech giant and an AI startup as the field of generative AI — technology that can generate text and art in seconds — stirs up.

A person who asked not to be identified said that that deal will give Google a stake in AI startup Anthropic, but won’t mandate the startup to spend the funds buying cloud services from Google,

The person said, “AI has evolved from academic research to become one of the biggest drivers of technological change, creating new opportunities for growth and improved services across all industries,” Thomas Kurian, chief executive officer of Google Cloud, said in a statement. “Google Cloud is providing open infrastructure for the next generation of AI startups, and our partnership with Anthropic is a great example of how we’re helping users and businesses tap into the power of reliable and responsible AI.”

Anthropic was founded in 2021 by former leaders of OpenAI Inc., including siblings Daniela and Dario Amodei. In January, the startup company launched a limited test of a new chatbot named Claude to compete with OpenAI’s wildly popular ChatGPT.

The partnership between Google-Anthropic corresponds to a high-profile $10 billion investment by Microsoft Corp. in OpenAI, which built on the $1 billion the software giant had poured into the AI startup in 2019, plus another round in 2021.

Such partnerships facilitate more established companies like Microsoft and Google means of entry to some of the most popular and advanced AI systems. On the other hand, startups like Anthropic, in turn, need funding and cloud-computing resources that a tech giant like Google can provide. In the investment deal, Google said its cloud division would share computing power and advanced AI chips that Anthropic plans to use to train and deploy its future AI products.

Claude, Anthropic’s language model assistant, hasn’t yet been introduced to the public, but the startup said it planned to propagate access to the chatbot “in the coming months.”

The deal highlights Google’s commitment to AI, specifically in ways that may be expanded beyond the company’s core search business. On Thursday, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said, “I’m excited by the AI-driven leaps we’re about to unveil in Search and beyond,” as the company reported fourth-quarter earnings. He said Google looked forward to launch chatbots “in the coming weeks and months” and allow consumers to use such products “as a companion to search.”

The tech giant’s investment in Anthropic was initially reported by the Financial Times.