Alphabet Inc’s Google has made its chatbot Bard available to the public in an effort to catch up with Microsoft Corp in the fast-paced race of artificial intelligence technology. Initially open to approved testers only, Bard is now open for English-language access in the US and the UK. Google describes Bard as an experiment that allows collaboration with generative AI, a technology that creates content based on past data rather than identifying it.
The release of Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, last year has spurred competition in the tech industry to bring AI to more users. The goal is to transform how people work and gain a competitive edge. Google and Microsoft recently made a series of AI-related announcements, indicating their emphasis on incorporating AI into their products and services.
When asked about the reason behind Bard’s rollout, Google’s Senior Product Director, Jack Krawczyk, stated that the focus is on users. Internal and external testers have found Bard useful for enhancing productivity, boosting creativity, and satisfying curiosity.
During a demonstration of bard.google.com, Krawczyk showcased how Bard quickly generates blocks of text, distinguishing it from ChatGPT, which types out answers word by word. Bard also includes a feature that allows users to choose from three different versions or “drafts” of an answer, as well as a “Google it” button to access web results related to a query.
However, accuracy remains a concern. A pop-up notice during the demo warned that Bard may not always provide correct answers. In a promotional video, Bard was shown giving an incorrect response, resulting in a considerable decline in Alphabet’s market value.
Google acknowledged a couple of mistakes during the demo, such as a wrong claim about ferns requiring bright, indirect light and generating nine paragraphs instead of the requested four. Krawczyk emphasized that they are aware of the technology’s limitations and are proceeding with caution in terms of its rollout.