Google has now officially entered the AI-powered chat war against ChatGPT. Initially restricted to a waitlist, then with a limited rollout in the USA and UK, Google has now opened access worldwide. To be precise, 180 countries and counting — and it’s now available in Japanese and Korean.
To try it out, simply head to the Google Bard homepage. But what is Google Bard, exactly? And what is Google saying about its enhanced AI chatbot? Find out below.
What is Google Bard?
Google Bard functions similarly to ChatGPT. The biggest difference is that Google’s service will be “drawing on information from the web”.
According to Google, Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of its large language models.
It then promises to provide fresh, high-quality responses that help users get the answers they need more efficiently.
Users can also ask Bard to create a list of items needed for a trip, for example, or ask it for ideas on how to read 20 books in a year.
The Google Bard timeline
7 June 2023: Google upgraded Bard’s mathematical skills today, with the promise that it will get better at answering prompts such as “What are the prime factors of 15683615?”. And: “Calculate the growth rate of my savings”.
You can also now export a Bard result to Google Sheets. So, if you asked it to create a table then it’s a one-step task to insert that into your spreadsheets.
10 May 2023: Google announced that it was opening Bard up to over 180 countries and territories in English. Plus, it now supports two more languages (Japanese and Korean) with up to 40 coming.
It also moved to PaLM 2, its “state-of-the-art language model with improved multilingual, reasoning and coding capabilities”. Google promises that this will help people write in Gmail and Google Docs, and help you get organised in Google Sheets.
It also promised that Bard would soon be able to handle images, both as inputs and outputs.
21 April 2023: In a game of catch-up with rivals, as of 21 April Bard can help you code. “Today, we’re updating Bard with the ability to help people with programming and software development tasks, including code generation, code debugging, and explanation,” wrote Paige Bailey, Group Product Manager of Google Research.
In addition, Bailey added, “Bard can also assist with writing functions for Google Sheets”.
21 March 2023: Google revealed that it is allowing more people to interact with its new AI service. Until this point, Bard had only been available to a small group of “trusted testers” hand-picked by Google as a precautionary measure.
The company, owned by Alphabet Inc, is yet to say how many people will be given access to Bard in the next step of the technology’s development. Initial applicants will be limited to the US and the UK before Google offers the service in more countries.
6 February 2023: In a blog by CEO Sundar Pichai, Google announced the arrival of Google Bard, “an important next step on our AI journey”. For the first time, it would allow outside testers to use the service. But only ones it trusted.
18 May 2021: Google announces LaMDA, short for language model for dialogue applications. Catchy. Compared to the basic chatbots then commonplace, it claimed LaMDA could “engage in a free-flowing way about a seemingly endless number of topics, an ability we think could unlock more natural ways of interacting with technology and entirely new categories of helpful applications”.
LaMDA was never open to the public, instead being part of Google Research, although it did share a demo of the model holding a natural language conversation with a real person to make a restaurant reservation.
12 June 2017: Google engineers “propose a new simple network architecture, the Transformer“, which become the basis of many large language models (including OpenAI’s GPT technology).
Google Bard controversy
Google is treading carefully with the rollout of its AI tools due to the risk of backlash. This is partially because it has more to lose if the technology publishes inaccurate information that could tarnish the company’s image and undercut its ad-driven business.
This was proven shortly after Google unveiled the tool, when Bard embarrassingly displayed a wrong answer about a scientific milestone during a presentation that was supposed to demonstrate how smart the technology could be.
Google faced the consequences of the glitch with nearly an 8% drop in Alphabet’s stock in a single day. This wiped out about $100 billion in shareholder wealth and underscored how closely investors are watching how Google handles the transition to AI.
Google Bard’s benefits (in Google’s words)
Despite the technology’s pitfalls, Bard still offers “incredible benefits” such as “jumpstarting human productivity, creativity and curiosity,” Google said in a blog post that two of its vice presidents Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins which was written with assistance from Bard.
Google is providing a query box connected to its search engine to make it easier for users to check on the accuracy of the information being displayed by the AI.
Google Bard’s benefits (in ChatGPT’s words)
When we asked ChatGPT about Google Bard’s benefits, it replied:
There are several potential benefits to using Google Bard, including:
- Time-saving: Writing poetry can be a time-consuming process, but with Bard, users can generate poetry quickly and easily. This can be particularly useful for people who need to come up with poetry on short notice, such as greeting card writers or marketers.
- Inspiration: Sometimes, a few words or phrases are all you need to get the creative juices flowing. By providing a starting point for users, Bard can help inspire new ideas and spark creativity.
- Accessibility: Bard can be a useful tool for people who might not consider themselves “poets” but still want to express themselves creatively through language. It can also be a helpful tool for people with disabilities or language barriers who might find traditional forms of poetry difficult.
- Educational value: For students and educators, Bard can be a helpful tool for teaching poetry and language skills. By showing how language and rhyme work together to create poetry, Bard can help students develop their own poetic skills and appreciation for the art form.
- Novelty: Finally, Bard is simply a fun and interesting tool to play around with. Users can experiment with different prompts and poetic forms, and see what kind of poetry the AI generates.
Google Bard’s benefits (in Google Bard’s words)
Google Bard is a large language model (LLM) chatbot developed by Google AI. It is trained on a massive dataset of text and code, and can generate text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions in an informative way.
Here are some of the benefits of using Google Bard:
- It can help you learn new things. Google Bard can access and process information from the real world through Google Search and keep its response consistent with search results. This means that you can ask Bard questions about any topic and it will be able to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information.
- It can help you be more creative. Google Bard can generate text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer your questions in an informative way. This means that you can use Bard to brainstorm ideas, write stories, or translate text from one language to another.
- It can help you be more productive. Google Bard can help you with a variety of tasks, such as writing emails, generating reports, and creating presentations. This can free up your time so that you can focus on other things.
- It can help you be more social. Google Bard can help you connect with other people by providing you with information about them and their interests. This can help you build relationships and find common ground with others.
Overall, Google Bard is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. It can help you learn new things, be more creative, be more productive, and be more social.
UPDATE 11 June 2023: Summarised recent feature updates.
UPDATE 28 April 2023: Video added along with Google adding Bard’s ability to code.
UPDATE 4 April 2023: We now have access to Google Bard, so updated the article with what Bard had to say about itself.
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