What is Google Bard? Everything you need to know
For years, Google has been spending a ton of money on AI or Artificial Intelligence. It’s built into your smartphone, even if you don’t use an Android phone. So when OpenAI launched ChatGPT, and it showed just how good it was, it was clear that Google was behind. So it launched Bard. It’s own AI chatbot, that should be really good. After all, it has the power of Google Search behind it. Though it’s first demo didn’t go as planned.
So here’s everything you need to know about Google Bard.
What is Google Bard?
Bard is a new Google experimental AI product. It’s basically an AI chat bot that the company has been developing, and it’s meant to be a competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Though, the big leg up that it has over ChatGPT is that it has the power of Google Search behind it. Google’s search engine is the biggest in the world, and has a ton of information, that Bard will already have. Instead of being two years out of date like ChatGPT is. ChatGPT was trained on data up until 2021.
When was Bard announced?
Bard was officially announced on February 6. Google released a statement from its CEO, Sundar Pichai talking about Bard. Which was an entirely new concept at the announcement. This AI chat service is being powered by Google’s LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), which the company unveiled a few years ago. And it also shows off quite often at Google I/O.
Why did Google decide to announce Bard now?
It’s probably pretty obvious why Google decided to announce Bard now. In what appears to be a bit early for Google. And that’s because ChatGPT has been a viral hit since it was released last year. It’s so popular in fact, that most of the time, you can’t even access ChatGPT due to there being to many people using it. UBS claims that ChatGPT is the fastest-growing app of all time. Which forced Google’s hand a bit here, as they are the ones known for doing things like ChatGPT.
Besides Search, artificial intelligence is Google’s other big money-making area. So Google knew that it needed to go ahead and get Bard out there. But it didn’t really work out as they had planned.
This all happened in the same week that Microsoft announced the “New Bing” which has ChatGPT integrated into the search engine.
What happened to Bard?
Google was set to announce Bard during a livestream in Paris on February 8, alongside a number of other improvements to its products. However, during the demo in Paris, Bard delivered inaccurate information about the James Webb Space Telescope.
Google, during the demo, asked Bard “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9 year old about?” It came back with a number of things that the JWST has done, and the last bit said “JWST took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system”. Which is incorrect, as the first exoplanet was taken in 2004 by the European Southern Observatory’s VLT (Very Large Telescope). So obviously, it was incorrect, which was a big deal for Google. Seeing as they are the number one search engine in the world.
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics → https://t.co/fSp531xKy3 pic.twitter.com/JecHXVmt8l
— Google (@Google) February 6, 2023
This resulted in Google privating the YouTube livestream of the announcement, while it was happening. Which caught a lot of people off-guard. A Google spokesperson later stated that “this highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program.”
That was definitely not how Google wanted to introduce Bard to the world. But it also shows that this kind of AI is pretty tough, and still has a long way to go.
How does Bard work?
As mentioned already, Bard is powered by LaMDA, which was built on Transformer, Google’s neural network architecture that it had invented in 2017. Google also notes that GPT-3, which is the language model that ChatGPT functions on, was also built on Transformer.
Initially, Bard will use a lightweight model version of LaMDA because it would require less computing power. It could also be scaled to more users, according to the company. Bard will also draw on all of the information from the web to provide responses. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, also noted that pulling from the web would provide “fresh, high-quality responses.” And it should also mean that we won’t get outdated information, like we currently get with ChatGPT.
How can you access Bard?
Bard has not yet been released to the public. Google says that it is currently testing Bard with a small group of “trusted testers”. Both internal and external feedback is going to be taken into account. This is to ensure that the service is ready to be released to the public and adheres to Google’s AI responsibility standards.
Google has said that Bard will be available to everyone in the weeks following the initial announcement, which was on February 6. But that was before the little demo fail that it had. So that might get pushed back a bit further.
Bard vs ChatGPT
Right now, it looks like AI chatbots will be a two-horse race between Google and Microsoft/OpenAI. Microsoft has poured billions of dollars into OpenAI as of late – even after it laid off a ton of its workers.
Google has been rushing to get Bard out. It was reported that a few weeks ago, it had developed Bard under a project called “atlas” which was part of a “code red” effort to compete with ChatGPT. As mentioned before, ChatGPT has been deemed the fastest-growing app of all-time. Which is quite impressive.
The big difference between the two so far, is that while both run on Transformer, Google’s Bard will use LaMDA and also be able to pull information from the web. Leading to more up-to-date information. While ChatGPT is trained on information up until 2021. So it’s not super accurate as of right now.
While Microsoft is investing in OpenAI, Google has announced it is investing in and partnering with Anthropic. That’s an AI startup led by some of the former leaders at OpenAI. They do have their own chatbot, called Claude, and it has a mission centered around AI safety. Which aligns really well with what Google is already doing with AI.
What other AI products does Google have?
Google isn’t new to AI, quite the opposite actually. Google has a number of AI products that have not yet been released to the public. Typically, Google will tred lightly when it comes to AI products. As it doesn’t want to release something until it is confident in its performance. Which shows just how worried Google was about ChatGPT.
Outside of actual chatbots and other AI products, Google also has a number of AI components in its Pixel smartphones. It has the Google Assistant, which can do all sorts of things like screening calls for you. As well as clear calling which uses AI to cancel out all of the background noise when you’re on the phone in a noisy place. It also has Magic Eraser, which uses AI to remove objects from photos, among many other features.