Thursday, March 23, 2023

Google Launches ChatGPT-Rival ‘Bard’ In A Bid To Take On Microsoft

Google on Monday unveiled a new chatbot tool dubbed ‘Bard’ in an apparent bid to spoil rival Microsoft’s plans to employ OpenAI-developed ChatGPT in its various platforms, including Bing and Teams. Google-parent Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced through a blog post that Bard was opened up to ‘trusted testers’ on February 6, with plans to make it available to the public ‘in the coming weeks.’

The announcement comes as Google’s online search is largely believed to be facing an imminent threat, especially in the last two months since ChatGPT was unveiled. The AI-driven chatbot has been widely used for generating programming codes, essays, stories, and song lyrics, and to answer some questions which previously one would have searched on Google.

ALSO READ: Google Invests $400 Million In ChatGPT-Rival Anthropic In A Bid To Launch Own Chatbot

The situation reportedly prompted Google’s management to declare a “code red” situation for its search business, reported CNN. Paul Buchheit, one of the creators of Gmail, in a tweet last year warned that Google “may be only a year or two away from total disruption” due to the rise of AI.

Pichai also shared that AI-powered tools will soon begin rolling out on Google’s flagship Search tool. “Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that distil complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web,” wrote Pichai in his blog. He added, “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.”

ALSO READ: ChatGPT Now Has ‘Improved’ Math Capabilities And Can No Longer Be Bullied Into Giving The Wrong Answer

Bard: How does it work?

“Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models,” Pichai wrote. “It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses,” he added.

The underlying technology that supports Bard has been around for some time but not widely available to the public. Google unveiled its Language Model for Dialogue Applications (or LaMDA) some two years ago, and on Monday it clarified that this technology will power Bard. LaMDA caught attention late last year when a former Google engineer claimed the chatbot was ‘sentient.’ However, his claims attracted criticism in the AI community.

The company will initially start with the lightweight model version of LaMDA. “This much smaller model requires significantly less computing power, enabling us to scale to more users, and allowing for more feedback. We’ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information,” added Pichai. 

In the blog post, Google offered insights by giving an example of a user asking Bard to explain new discoveries made by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to generate interest from a 9-year-old. Bard responds with conversational bullet points. The first one reads: “In 2023, The JWST spotted a number of galaxies nicknamed ‘green peas.’ They were given this name because they are small, round, and green, like peas.”

Bard can be used to plan a friend’s baby shower, compare two Oscar-nominated movies or get lunch ideas based on what’s in your fridge, according to the post.

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