Google To Release ChatGPT-Style AI Chatbot

Google has said it plans to release a chatbot called Bard to the public “in the coming weeks” in its latest move to counter the massive popularity of Microsoft-backed ChatGPT.

The company said it was releasing the tool first to a select group of users for testing on Monday before a wider release in the near future.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai gave little information about Bard, other than that it is based on Google’s Lamda, or Language Model for Dialogue Applications, and would draw on information from the web to provide “fresh, high-quality responses”.

He gave examples in which a person asked for new discoveries from Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope to relate to a nine-year-old or learn more about “the best strikers in football right now” and get drills to build one’s skills.

Image credit: Google

Current information

The emphasis on current information is a differentiator from ChatGPT, which relies on information from the internet as it was in 2021.

The move to release Bard is a dramatic departure for Google, which has pioneered key artificial intelligence technologies but has been cautious about providing them directly to the general public.

The shift was spurred by OpenAI’s release last November of ChatGPT, which some industry watchers say has already gained 100 million users.

The free availability of a text-generation tool based on a massive language model has opened a debate about the effect such offerings could have on a wide range of fields, including internet search.

Image credit: Google

AI wars

Microsoft, which recently made a multi-billion dollar investment into OpenAI, is said to be building ChatGPT’s capabilities into its Bing search engine, with a release planned for the near future.

The debate is far from over, with users noting, for instance, that automatic text-generation tools can relay hate speech and assert false information.

Pichai emphasised in a blog post announcing the release that Google was “committed to developing AI responsibly”.

Google is holding an event focusing on AI, search and other topics on Wednesday, with Microsoft planning a press conference about its use of ChatGPT in its products later on Tuesday.

Image credit: Google
Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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