Another one bites the dust less than a year after introduction
Although generative AI piqued public interest only recently, behind-the-scenes development has been ongoing at companies like Google for a few years now. Testing these cutting edge improvements in AI is usually something reserved for employees and developers, but Google allowed commoners to take its AI projects for a spin with apps like AI Test Kitchen. In an unforeseen turn of events, the company has delisted this app from the Play Store and Apple App Store, perhaps ahead of a complete and unexplained shutdown.
Google launched the AI Test Kitchen app soon after its annual I/O developer conference in 2022, where it introduced the second-gen LaMDA large language model (LLM) which now plays a key role powering Bard. Test Kitchen was initially available with three applications designed to let people test the capabilities of the LLM in limited environments. The three experiments available at launch included Imagine It where LaMDA tries to describe an imaginary place you name, List It, where the LLM breaks down a to-do list into smaller sub-tasks, and Talk About It, where you could chat with the AI about dogs.
After I/O this year, where Google introduced new experiments like MusicLM, the company briefly took the AI Test Kitchen app off the Play Store, 9to5Google notes. The move is surprising, considering the app was less than a year old, and AI is still gaining traction. However, the writing was on the wall, because at I/O this year, Google suggested we use the website to experience MusicLM, conveniently steering users away from the Test Kitchen app. MusicLM replaced all other AI experiments running on the app, but Google doesn’t say why it is shutting down AI Test Kitchen.
If you have the app installed, you can continue using it for now. That also means the latest build of the app hosted on APKMirror still works. The Test Kitchen experience also works on the web app for now, but an app shutdown could suggest Google is planning an entirely new way to facilitate public testing. Until then, the Test Kitchen app is another app killed by Google.