Bard, Google’s Answer to ChatGPT

Google isn’t about to let Microsoft or anyone else make a swipe for its search crown without a fight. The company announced today that it will roll out a chatbot named Bardin the coming weeks.” The launch appears to be a response to ChatGPT, the sensationally popular artificial intelligence chatbot developed by startup OpenAI with funding from Microsoft.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, wrote in a blog post that Bard is already available to “trusted testers” and designed to put the “breadth of the world’s knowledge” behind a conversational interface. It uses a smaller version of a powerful AI model called LaMDA, which Google first announced in May 2021 and is based on similar technology to ChatGPT. Google says this will allow it to offer the chatbot to more users and gather feedback to help address challenges around the quality and accuracy of the chatbot’s responses.

Google and OpenAI are both building their bots on text generation software that, while eloquent, is prone to fabrication and can replicate unsavory styles of speech picked up online. The need to mitigate those flaws, and the fact that this type of software cannot easily be updated with new information, poses a challenge for hopes of building powerful and lucrative new products on top of the technology, including the suggestion that chatbots could reinvent web search.

Notably, Pichai did not announce plans to integrate Bard into the search box that powers Google’s profits. Instead he showcased a novel, and cautious, use of the underlying AI technology to enhance conventional search. For questions for which there is no single agreed-on answer, Google will synthesize a response that reflects the differing opinions.

For example, the queryIs it easier to learn the piano or the guitar?” would be met with “Some say the piano is easier to learn, as the finger and hand movements are more natural … Others say that it’s easier to learn chords on the guitar.” Pichai also said that Google plans to make the underlying technology available to developers through an API, as OpenAI is doing with ChatGPT, but did not offer a timeline.