Google Unveils Rival 'Bard' to ChatGPT

Company hopes to keep up in the AI race
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2023 10:25 AM CST
Google Takes 'Important Next Step in Our AI Journey'
A sign is shown on a Google building at the company's campus in Mountain View, California, on Sept. 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

ChatGPT has been making headlines lately, but now it's going to have to share that media real estate: On Monday, Google owner Alphabet announced its new chatbot service, Bard, as well as plans to pump more artificial intelligence into its search functions and open up some of its AI products to developers, reports Reuters. In a blog post, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai cheered the "important next step on our AI journey," describing Bard as an "experimental conversational AI service," powered by its Language Model for Dialogue Applications, or LaMDA.

Like ChatGPT—a chatbot owned by OpenAI, which has been backed by a multibillion-dollar investment from Microsoft—the technology scans the internet to generate content based on shorter input, taking some of the burden for doing so off of human workers. "Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models ... [drawing] on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses," Pichai wrote in his post. He also explained how AI could be incorporated into his company's Google search engine:

For comparison, he noted how while today one might ask Google how many keys a piano has, an AI-bolstered Google could better offer answers to more complex questions, such as: "Is the piano or guitar easier to learn, and how much practice does each need?" (Search Engine Land has a screenshot of what such an answer might look like.) Pichai noted in a separate email to staffers that they would all get access to Bard next week so they could test-drive it, per the Wall Street Journal, which reports that details were scarce on how Bard will function. That paper notes that Google has faced criticism for being sluggish on releasing house-made AI services, considering it's been on the forefront of some of the tech behind services like ChatGPT.

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Pichai appeared to address that in his post, noting, "It's critical that we bring experiences rooted in these models to the world in a bold and responsible way. That's why we’re committed to developing AI responsibly." Meanwhile, Microsoft is hyping up its own event for Tuesday, with "progress on a few exciting projects," per the Journal. Microsoft has suggested it has similar plans as Google, noting last month it would infuse its Bing search engine with AI and allow developers access to its tech. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman tweeted a photo of himself on Monday with Microsoft chief Satya Nadella, with the caption, "Excited for the event tomorrow." (Nick Cave didn't appreciate ChatGPT writing a song in his style.)

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