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What do we know about Bard, Google’s new AI program that will compete with ChatGPT?

Google is jumping into the Chatbot race, sparked by the sudden popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, announcing that it was testing its own called Bard.

Google will launch AI chatbot service Bard
Arnd WiegmannREUTERS

Google announced that it will begin rolling out an experimental conversational artificial intelligence chatbot service called Bard. The new service comes after the explosive growth in users for ChatGPT since its release in November, 57 million unique users in December alone, which has presented one of the biggest challenges to the pioneer in search and AI technologies.

Along with Bard, Google will add AI search features to its search engine to handle more complex queries for information. This will allow the tech giant to compete in its rivalry with Microsoft, which is planning to embed AI features in its own Bing search engine and backs OpenAI creator of ChatGPT, to lead a new wave of computing.

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How does Bard work?

The exact specifics of how Bard will work were not laid out in the announcement from Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet. However, the blog post explained that “Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models.”

The promo video of Bard shows a screen shot of potential queries that can be put to the AI chatbot such as “plan a friend’s baby shower, compare two Oscar nominated movies or get lunch ideas based on what’s in your fridge.” Additionally, “What new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9 year old about?”

The idea is that the new AI-powered features in Search will be able to “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.” This, Google says, will be helpful to synthesize “insights for questions where there’s no one right answer.”

One area where Bard might outcompete ChatGPT is that it could be able answer questions about more easily about recent events as Bard “draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses,” according to Pichai.

When will Bard be available to the public?

No date was given for a wider release of Google’s Bard with Pichai says “in the coming weeks.” Currently it is in the “Apprentice Bard” stage where it is open to employees and “trusted testers.” The company wants to fine tune the service as the company has much more “reputational risk” in providing wrong answers. This is one of the reasons the company is moving “more conservatively than a small startup,” CNBC reported that Google’s AI chief, Jeff Dean, told employees.

Bard will be powered by a lighter version of Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). As it uses much less computing power the tech giant will be able to allow more users on the system providing more feedback to “make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information.”


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