Google will launch its own ChatGPT competitor called ‘Bard’

The tool will mark Google's first foray into making its machine learning systems available directly to the public.

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It’s no secret that Google hasn’t done much in response to the sensation that is ChatGPT. Techies and tech journalists are aware that Google has the same technology behind its curtains, but the company has been extremely shy about releasing it to the world. That’s changing today, with CEO Sundar Pichai announcing in a blog post that it’ll soon release a proper competitor called Bard.

Bard, powered by Google’s LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) intelligence model, will blend two of Google Search’s specialties into a chat model: advanced query support and relevant, informative responses. Pichai says Bard will continuously pull from the web for its information, so that the model will remain informed of worldly events and trends. “Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models,” said Pichai. “It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses. Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills.”

The model will seemingly be less sentient than ChatGPT is, where you’ll be looking to Bard more for answers to questions instead of conversing with it on a topic. I’m sure it’ll be capable of that, too, but Google’s positioning places it firmly in the “future of search engines” category.

And that’s about all we know about Bard. Google isn’t detailing how it’ll roll out to the general public, beyond stating that it’s arriving in the “coming weeks” once internal testers have had time to play with it. We also don’t know everything it’ll be capable of.

What we do know is Google’s ready for Bard to screw up. ChatGPT has been known to spit out offensive language and misinformation in the past, and it seems Google is willing to take a chance on Bard and work through difficulties in real time. That’s a big reason why Bard will only use a small portion of LaMDA to start, which requires less horsepower to run and is easier to scale to more people.

In addition, bits and pieces of Google’s new AI chops will be integrated into Search soon. It’ll aid in breaking down complex topics or queries that require multiple opinions, like whether learning the guitar or piano is easier. “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: whether that’s seeking out additional perspectives, like blogs from people who play both piano and guitar, or going deeper on a related topic, like steps to get started as a beginner. These new AI features will begin rolling out on Google Search soon.”

These features have been available in the past on a limited basis, but this expanded rollout will be much more meaningful and give the public a better taste of what Google’s machine learning algorithms can kick out.