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Meet Bard: The “Conversational AI Service” from Google

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving the new industrial revolution, the impact of profound technological innovations is seen in personal spaces and public settings. Today, AI has the potential to solve some of the most pressing issues in society. And with tech giants like Google and Microsoft investing in artificial intelligence (through the development of Bard and ChatGPT), the potential for generative AI driving software engineering forward is being unlocked.

What is Bard

On 6th February 2023, in a blog post, Sundar Pichai introduced Google Bard. It is an experimental AI chat service that can retrieve real-time information from the web. Theoretically, it processes inputs from the user and responds with an updated, well-researched answer.

Source: Google

Bard was a relatively new concept at the time of its initial release. However, for several years, Google has been building and testing chatbots that can respond with information on any topic. The AI chatbot uses LaMDA (or Language Model for Dialogue Applications), the family of conversational neural language models that was announced by Google back in 2021.

Is it Available

Right now, at the time of writing this post, there is no way for the general public to use Bard and how it works. Since it is in the testing phase, Google has made it accessible to a handful of trusted testers.

Google revealed that these testers do not serve as Search Quality Raters. Instead, they are a varied group of individuals from different ethnic and geographic backgrounds.

These testers evaluate Google’s products to understand new Google products and features and how people would utilize them. Google claimed that this testing is provided in collaboration with a third-party supplier.

So, if you haven’t received an invite from Google already, the chances are that you will have to wait with the rest of us.

How does Google Bard Work

Since Google Bard is an AI chat service, it can produce a conversational response to the request or query that the users type into the text box. In an event in Paris, Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan shared information about how the AI chat service works.

For example, suppose you want to buy a new car. In that case, Bard can take several factors like budget and safety into consideration and help you make an informed decision.

Another example shows that Bard can help you plan road trips. When asked about a list of stops between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, the AI chat service responded by describing four stops, including Half Moon Bay, Pescadero, Santa Cruz Boardwalk, and Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

Who can Use Google Bard

Even though Bard is currently in the experimental phase, Google is expected to integrate the AI-powered features into Search soon. Once it is rolled out for the public, all the users will be able to access Bard’s capabilities.

Will Google Bard be Free

Although Google is yet to verify if Bard will be chargeable to the user, it seems that Google Bard will be initially available for free. Given that Google Bard’s competitor ChatGPT Plus already exists as a subscription service, we cannot rule out that possibility.

Google Bard Vs. ChatGPT – The Comparison

Parameters Google Bard ChatGPT
Data Source Retrieves more accurate and updated information from the web Some of the information might be outdated, as it uses GPT-3.5 with 2021 data
Language Model Used LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialogue Applications, is developed on an open-source network specialized for creating dialogue and words GPT-3.5 or Generative Pre-Trained Transformer 3.5 language model that generates human-like text. A GPT-4 language model is expected to be rolled out soon
Initial Public Access Initially, only a group of “trusted testers” can access it Users can pay $20 to sign up for priority access to ChatGPT Plus
Response Type Generates content in chunks Generates information in a single text prompt

Controversy Around Google Bard

After a factual error was made in the first demo of its new artificial intelligence system, Alphabet, the parent organization of Google, saw its market value decline by $100 billion. As part of an official promotional post for Bard on Twitter, Google demonstrated the use of Bard to answer queries regarding the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which were actually erroneous. Experts pointed out the error in the replies, bringing attention to this problem.

Final Thoughts

Overall, AI chat services can speed up and save money on time-consuming customer support interactions. Customer satisfaction levels can be largely increased as a result of conversational AI chatbots’ ability to mimic human conversational experiences accurately.

Google also plans to create a set of tools and APIs to support the development of more innovative AI apps over time. These developments may be essential for startups and medium-scale businesses looking to build dependable and trustworthy AI systems.

With the stringent testing process that Google has undertaken, it is only a matter of time before Bard’s responses uphold a high standard for quality, safety, and groundedness. And its popularity and level of adoption across verticals like healthcare, e-commerce, social media, messaging, research, and others will keep increasing.

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