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Google begins public release of its chatbot Bard against ChatGPT

March 21: Google begins opening access to its ChatGPT competitor Bard. Google Alphabet Inc launched a public offering of its Bard chatbot on Tuesday, seeking users and feedback to gain ground on Microsoft Corp in the fast-moving artificial intelligence technology race.

Starting in the US and UK, consumers can join a waiting list for English-language access to the Bard program, which was previously only open to approved testers. Google describes Bard as a collaborative experiment with generative artificial intelligence, a technology that relies on past data to create content rather than content identification.

Last year’s release of ChatGPT, a chatbot from Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI, caused a sprint in the tech sector to put AI in the hands of more users. The hope is to reshape the way people work and win business in the process.

Just last week, Google and Microsoft made a bunch of AI announcements two days apart. Companies are introducing drafting technology into their word processors and other collaboration software, as well as marketing tools for web developers to build their own AI-based applications.


When asked if there was a competitive dynamic behind Bard’s introduction, Jack Krawczyk, senior product director, said Google’s focus is on users. Internal and external testers have turned to Bard to “raise their productivity, accelerate their ideas and really fuel their curiosity,” he said.

In a bard.google.com demo for Reuters, Krawczyk showed how the program creates blocks of text in an instant, which is different from how ChatGPT transcribes responses word for word.

Bard also included a feature showing three different versions or “drafts” of any given answer that users could switch between, and displayed a button that said “Google it” if the user wanted web results for the query.

Unlike ChatGPT, Bard is not adept at generating computer code, Google said on its website. Google also said that it has limited Bard’s memory to past chat exchanges and that it does not currently use Bard for advertising, which is central to Google’s business model.


Accuracy remains an issue. “Bard doesn’t always get it right,” warned a Google popup during the demo. Last month, a promotional video showed that the program answered a question incorrectly, helping to reduce Alphabet’s market value by $100 billion.

Google highlighted several errors during the demonstration to Reuters, such as saying that Bard incorrectly claimed in response to one query that ferns require bright, indirect light.

The bard also produced nine paragraphs of text when asked for four in another. After that response, Krawczyk clicked the thumbs-down button for feedback.

“We know the limitations of this technology, so we want to be very judicious in the pace at which we roll it out,” he said.


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