Google AI Bard

Google to launch ChatGPT competitor Bard

ChatGPT has taken center stage all over the internet lately as people continue to find new use cases for the multi-faceted chatbot. It’s been referred to by many as a “Google killer” that could challenge the search giant’s dominance. Now the battle for AI supremacy seems to be heating up as Google is launching its own conversational AI bot, Bard.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the news this Monday, Bard is going to launch “in the coming weeks”. The statement is made just two days after it was leaked that Microsoft is going to add ChatGPT features to Bing, the main competitor to Google search. While the tool itself clearly has been in development for quite some time, the leak might have affected the timing of the announcement.

What is Google Bard?

Bard is an AI-powered chatbot that runs on text-generation software. Much like Open AI’s ChatGPT, it can help you with a wide range of tasks like explaining complex theories, comparing movies, or re-write your work emails with a more professional tone. Sundar Pichai stated that  “It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.”

There were no announcements about integrating Bard directly into the search box, however, they highlighted that it could be used to enhance some search results. If you ask a question that the top sources disagree on, Bard will generate a result that summarises both opinions.

Powered by LaMDA

According to Google, Bard is a conversational service that is powered by LaMDA, so unlike Microsoft, they rely entirely on their own technology. If you are unfamiliar with LaMDA it’s Google’s own AI which was announced in 2021 at the Google I/O. To begin with, Bard will run on a lightweight version of LaMDA which is going to require a lot less computing power to run. Less computing power means it’s cheaper for the company to keep it up and running.

The cost efficiency has the potential to give them an advantage as it’s going to allow them to offer up their chatbot to more users, which in turn gives them more data for improvements. The explosive rise in popularity of ChatGPT is quite expensive for OpenAI as every single interaction costs them a couple of cents. On the other hand, with the recent $10 billion investment from Microsoft, they should be set for a while.

A work in progress

Google was very clear about the fact that Bard is far from a complete product and that they are “excited for this next phase of testing.” The phase referred to consist of opening it up to “trusted testers”, the first people outside of Google that get to play around with it. At this moment it’s unclear how one becomes one of the trusted testers and it appears we will have to wait patiently before taking Bard for a test run.

Further down the road Google plans to provide a wide range of tools and APIs based around Bard and LaMDA for developers and enterprises outside of the Google umbrella. The goal is to help startups build more innovative AI tools. It seems fairly similar to what OpenAI is providing and the AI race is most definitely on.