Meet Bard - Google’s answer to ChatGPT

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 7 Feb, 2023
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A first look at Google’s conversational AI service. AI features coming to Search “soon”.

Google Bard.

Image: Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Google has introduced Bard to the world. It’s an experimental conversational AI service powered by LaMDA, and the company’s response to the hugely successful ChatGPT.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Bard was now open to “trusted testers”, and will be made more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.

New AI features on Google Search

Google says it is using its newest AI technologies such as LaMDA, PaLM, Imagen and MusicLM to create new ways to engage with information and is working to bring these AI advancements into its products - starting with Search.

“Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web”.

Here’s Google’s screenshot of what these AI features would look like in practice on Search. It shows a long AI-generated answer to a lengthy query, and illustrates how Google could integrate AI-generated answers directly into Search.

Google Bard.

These new AI features will begin rolling out on Google Search “soon”.

Bard in action

Google also shared a video showing how Bard - their ChatGPT-style service - might answer a question.

**Update 9 Feb: Embarrasingly for Google, Bard gave incorrect information above when it said the James Webb Space Telescope was the first to take pictures of a planet outside Earth’s solar system. Shares plummeted on 8 Feb amid investor fears that Microsoft with its new Bing incorporating ChatGPT, would damage Google's business.

Google says external feedback will be combined with internal testing to ensure responses meet a “high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information”.

The race is on between Google and Microsoft to integrate ChatGPT-like tech into their products, including search. Microsoft is a big investor in OpenAI, which created ChatGPT, and is moving ahead with plans to integrate ChatGPT into Bing Search.

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