Everything you need to know about Google’s AI Chatbot. Google Bard, Following the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google released its own AI chatbot, Bard. Now that its waitlist is available, here is what you need to know. Bard is Google’s experimental, conversational, AI chat service. It is meant to function similarly to ChatGPT, with the biggest difference being that Google’s service will pull its information from the web.
Google Bard is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot service that promises to rival the popularity of ChatGPT. While introducing Bard, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai called it an “experimental conversational AI service” that will boost Google Search when launched globally. A small group of trusted users is currently trying out the chatbot before it’s rolled out to the broader public.
What Is It?
Like ChatGPT, you will be able to converse with Google Bard in complete sentences and ask factual and subtle questions. Its connection to Google Search should help provide the freshest and latest information. This timeliness of results is a distinction that will make it stand apart from ChatGPT.
Google Bard is built on Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) technology. LaMDA was built on Transformer, Google’s neural network architecture released in 2017. Because Google released Transformer as open source, it has been the framework for other generative AI tools, including the GPT-3 language model used in ChatGPT.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT is tuned to generative AI, producing everything from synopses to creative writing. Alternatively, Bard is designed around search. It aims to allow for more natural language queries, rather than keywords, for search.
Bard’s AI is trained around natural-sounding conversational queries and responses. Instead of just giving a list of answers, it provides context to the responses. It’s also designed to help with follow-up questions — something new to search.
For instance, Google says you can ask Bard to:
- Plan a friend’s baby shower
- Compare two Oscar-nominated movies
- Get lunch ideas based on what’s in your fridge
Bard will simplify these complex answers and give you practical suggestions to apply.
Not all responses will be mere factual answers. Google wants to meet the expectations of searchers by offering deeper insights and in simpler words that can be understood by a nine-year-old.
Unless Google Bard is released worldwide, it’s difficult to estimate its capabilities. Most of our current knowledge comes from Google’s The Keyword blog post where the chatbot was announced. For users on the Google Search page, Bard is expected to follow the same conversational approach as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Bing’s AI search. Additionally, it will draw on Google’s huge search engine index while it uses artificial intelligence to synthesize fresh responses to any question.
Who can use Google Bard?
Users must be 18 or older and have a personal Google account. Currently, Bard is only available in the United States and United Kingdom and will eventually expand to other countries.
Who Built Google Bard?
Google Bard is based on Google’s longstanding work on language models since it open-sourced its first Transformer neural network architecture in 2017. Language models are AI and machine learning applications that synthesize vast amounts of text and predict the next words which help them carry out an open-ended exchange with the user. AI chatbots like Bard, ChatGPT, and Bing AI differ in the language models they use in the background and how they use it.
LaMDA (Language Model Dialogue Application) is the system that powers Google Bard. In these early versions, Bard will use a lightweight model version of LaMDA which will need less computing power, thus helping Google to scale to more devices and users. Google promises to work out any kinks so that AI answers meet its standards for “quality, safety, and groundedness.”
As Bard evolves, so will the artificial intelligence tools that will run Google Search in the future.
How Does Bard Impact Me?
You will be able to ask Google Bard real-time questions. But unlike traditional keyword searches, your questions can also be complex and nuanced.
Bard is powered by a “lightweight” version of LaMDA.
LaMDA is a large language model that is trained on datasets consisting of public dialogue and web data.
There are two important factors related to the training described in the associated research paper, which you can download as a PDF here: LaMDA: Language Models for Dialog Applications (read the abstract here).
- A. Safety: The model achieves a level of safety by tuning it with data that was annotated by crowd workers.
- B. Groundedness: LaMDA grounds itself factually with external knowledge sources (through information retrieval, which is search).
The LaMDA research paper states:
“…factual grounding, involves enabling the model to consult external knowledge sources, such as an information retrieval system, a language translator, and a calculator.
We quantify factuality using a groundedness metric, and we find that our approach enables the model to generate responses grounded in known sources, rather than responses that merely sound plausible.”
Google used three metrics to evaluate the LaMDA outputs:
- Sensibleness: A measurement of whether an answer makes sense or not.
- Specificity: Measures if the answer is the opposite of generic/vague or contextually specific.
- Interestingness: This metric measures if LaMDA’s answers are insightful or inspire curiosity.
All three metrics were judged by crowdsourced raters, and that data was fed back into the machine to keep improving it.
The LaMDA research paper concludes by stating that crowdsourced reviews and the system’s ability to fact-check with a search engine were useful techniques.
Google’s researchers wrote:
“We find that crowd-annotated data is an effective tool for driving significant additional gains.
We also find that calling external APIs (such as an information retrieval system) offers a path towards significantly improving groundedness, which we define as the extent to which a generated response contains claims that can be referenced and checked against a known source.”
Google Bard will change your old search habits and the entire nature of online search. It will be integrated into every Google product like Android, Google Drive, and Google Maps. For instance, you can not only use it for a factual search (“How many keys does a piano have?”) but also to understand deeper questions like, “Is the piano or guitar easier to learn, and how much practice does each need?”
The Bard will help you manage information overload by providing the big picture and the option to dive deeper into the topic. As it will be integrated into other Google products, you can expect Bard to help you find the best function in a Google Sheet or design quick Google Slides around content.
How Can I Try Google Bard?
Google Bard is only accessible to a small group of trusted beta testers. So, you will have to wait until this small group turns into a wider pool, or the AI is integrated into Google search on our devices. But thanks to the overheated competition, the launch is expected sooner than later.
Is Bard free?
As of this writing, Google has given no indication that it will charge for use. Google has no history of charging customers for services — its cloud business notwithstanding. The current assumption that Bard will be integrated into Google’s basic search engine indicates that it will be freely available for use.
Google Bard vs. ChatGPT
Both Google Bard and OpenAI’s ChatGPT are AI chatbots, meaning they are designed for interaction with people through the use of natural language models and machine learning. Both use a large language model (LLM), which is a machine learning model for generating and creating conversational text. However, that’s where the similarities end.
ChatGPT uses generative AI, meaning it can produce original content. For example, users can ask it to write a thesis on the advantages of AI. Google Bard serves a different use, as it is trying to make search more natural and helpful.
That said, ChatGPT is also capable of helping refine searches. In January, Microsoft signed a deal reportedly worth $10 billion with OpenAI to license and incorporate ChatGPT into its Bing search engine to provide more conversational search results, similar to Google Bard. That opens the door to other search engines to license ChatGPT, whereas Bard is meant to support only Google.
One of the larger differences between the two is that ChatGPT’s responses are based on data available up to 2021, whereas Google Bard will be based on up-to-date, current data. For ChatGPT to be viable as a search engine technology, it must be able to answer questions with up-to-date data, not two-year-old data.
OpenAI is aware of the potential for plagiarism with ChatGPT and offers a plagiarism detection tool for educators to catch students using it for homework assignments. Thus far, there is no knowledge of whether or not Google Bard has its own plagiarism detection tool.
Alternatives to Google Bard
ChatGPT didn’t spring up from a vacuum. AI chatbots have been around for a while, just in less versatile forms. Multiple startup companies have been working on similar-style chatbot technologies, but without the spotlight ChatGPT has received. A few of the competitors Bard will face upon its release include the following:
Microsoft and its partnership with OpenAI are going to offer exactly what Google will offer with Bard: search powered by AI to recognize natural language queries and give natural language responses. When a user makes a search query, they’ll receive the standard Bing search results and a ChatGPT-generated answer, as well as the ability to interact with the AI regarding its response.
Bing powered by ChatGPT is in beta stages now.
Marketed as a “ChatGPT alternative with superpowers,” ChatSonic is an AI chatbot powered by Google Search with an AI-based text generator, WriteSonic, that lets users discuss topics in real time to create text or images. Only the test version is free of charge. To use all functions, a monthly fee is required.
Jasper Chat is an AI chatbot copywriting tool that is focused on generated text specifically aimed at companies looking to create brand-relevant content and have conversations with customers. It enables content creators to specify SEO keywords and tone of voice in their prompts.
YouChat is the AI chatbot from the You.com search engine based in Germany. Not only does YouChat offer answers to questions, it also provides the citations for its answers so users can review the source and fact-check You.com responses.
Like YouChat, NeevaAI is part of German search engine company Neeva. It provides links to cited sources and generates answers using quotes from the original sources. It also summarizes multiple sources to provide a single answer.
Will Google Bard be free to use?
Because Google Bard isn’t out of private testing we can’t say for sure, but we do expect Google Bard to be free to use just as Google’s search tool is free to use. Again, we don’t know for sure and we’ll update this answer when we know more.
Does Google Bard have any competitors?
We expect there to be many AI-powered chatbots, but for now, the most well-known competitor is ChatGPT. Microsoft has let some folks use its new Bing search service which is powered AI, but it, too, is still in very limited testing.