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What exactly is Google Bard? Here’s everything you need to know about the company’s new artificial intelligence experience.

What exactly is Google Bard? Here’s everything you need to know about the company’s new artificial intelligence experience.
Associated Press Photographer Michael Liedtke

Google is bracing for a battle of wits in the field of artificial intelligence with “Bard,” a conversational service designed to counter the popularity of Microsoft’s ChatGPT tool.

According to a Monday blog post by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Bard will initially be available only to a group of “trusted testers” before being widely released later this year.

Google’s chatbot is designed to explain complex subjects like outer space discoveries in terms that even a child can understand. It also claims that the service will perform more mundane tasks, such as providing party planning advice or lunch suggestions based on what food is left in a refrigerator.

How do I make use of Bard in Google AI?

Pichai didn’t say in his post whether Bard will be able to write prose in the style of William Shakespeare, the playwright whose name the service is said to be based on.

ChatBot vs. Bard

Google announced the existence of Bard less than two weeks after Microsoft revealed it is investing billions of dollars in OpenAI, the San Francisco-based maker of ChatGPT and other tools that can generate new images and write readable text.

Microsoft’s decision to increase its previous $1 billion investment in OpenAI in 2019 increased the pressure on Google to demonstrate that it will be able to keep pace in a field of technology that many analysts believe will be as transformative as personal computers, the internet, and smartphones have been in various stages over the last 40 years.

According to a CNBC report from last week, a team of Google engineers working on artificial intelligence technology “has been asked to prioritise working on a response to ChatGPT.”

Bard was a service being developed as part of Google’s “Atlas” project to counter the success of ChatGPT, which has attracted tens of millions of users since its general release late last year, while also raising concerns in schools about its ability to write entire essays for students.

For the past six years, Pichai has emphasised the importance of artificial intelligence, with one of the most visible byproducts appearing in 2021 as part of a system called “Language Model for Dialogue Applications,” or LaMDA, which will power Bard.

Google also intends to incorporate LaMDA and other artificial intelligence advancements into its dominant search engine in order to provide more helpful answers to the increasingly complex questions posed by its billion users. Pichai indicated that the artificial intelligence tools will be deployed in Google’s search in the near future without providing a specific timeline.

Google announced last week that it is investing in and partnering with Anthropic, an AI startup led by some former OpenAI leaders, as part of its growing commitment to the field. Anthropic has also developed its own AI chatbot, Claude, and has a mission focused on AI safety.

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