Google Bard, like ChatGPT, is an artificial intelligence chatbot that responds to a user’s questions or prompts. It can answer questions on any subject in an almost human-like manner. After the release of ChatGPT on November 30, 2022, this AI chatbot garnered over one million users. Many tech companies, including Google, also launched their own chatbots among which Bard gained significant attention. 

So, you must be thinking, “How does Bard differ from ChatGPT? What are its functions?” Let’s break down everything we know about Bard.

What is Google Bard all about?

Bard is Google’s experimental and conversational AI char service. The AI-powered chatbot simulates human conversations using natural language processing and machine learning. One of the biggest differences between the free version of ChatGPT and Bard is that the latter can pull information from the web. 

Google Bard can also be integrated into websites, applications, or messaging platforms. This can help in providing realistic and natural language responses to questions. Apart from this, Bard can code, write essays, answer maths problems and much more. 

When was Google Bard Released?

Google Bard was first announced on February 6, 2023 in a statement from Google and Alphabet’s CEO, Sundar Pichai. This AI chatbot was powered by Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). 

Google Bard AI chatbot began opening access to its platform on March 21, 2023, when users were invited to join a waitlist. On May 10, 2023, the waitlist was finally removed. It provided limited access to users in the US and UK on a rolling basis before it was made available in over 180 countries and territories. 

What was the Issue with Google Bard when Announced?

When Bard was announced in February 2023, the live demo experienced a significant failure. This demo was aimed at showcasing how Bard would work. However, it resulted in a factual error by Bard AI Google which led to its accuracy being questioned. 

Bard was asked a question in the demo about the discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope that a person can tell their 9-year-old. Bard’s response mentioned that the JWST “took the first pictures of a planet outside of our solar system.”

Astronomers pointed out on social media that an earthbound observatory took the first image of an exoplanet in 2004 and not by JWST. Therefore, Bard’s answer was incorrect. This mistake significantly affected Google’s share, resulting in a hundred billion dollars loss in a single day. 

Who Can Use Google Bard?

People all over the world have access to Google Bard. Google plans to expand this Google chatbot to over 180 countries. In order to use Bard, individuals must be 18 or older. They also need to have a personal Google account to register for Bard. 

At the annual developer conference known as Google I/O, Google announced Bard will support multiple languages. This included Japanese and Korean and is on track to support 40 more languages soon. 

How Does Google Bard Work?

Bard works with the aid of Google’s most advanced large language model (LLM) called PaLM 2. PaLM stands for Pathway Language Model where Pathway is a machine language technique created at Google. PaLM 2, an advanced version of PaLM, was released in April 2022 and unveiled to the public at Google I/O 2023.

The initial version of Google AI Bard was a lightweight model version of LaMDA. This large language model is trained on datasets comprising public dialogue and web data. Moreover, the decision to use this model was because it required less computing power and could be scaled to more users. The LaMDA technology was based on Transformer, Google’s neural network architecture that was released in 2017. 

Two of the integral factors that were considered in using LaMBDA were its safety and groundlessness. The model achieves a level of safety by tuning it with data annotated by crowd workers. Additionally, it grounds itself factually with external knowledge sources, making the answers credible and more insightful. 

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Since Google released Transformer as an open source, it has been the framework for other AI generative tools. This includes the GPT-3 language model used in ChatGPT. 

Google uses its own LLM, LaMDA and PaLM 2. This was considered a bold decision from Google since some of the popular AI chatbots like Bing Chat and ChatGPT use a language model in the GPT series. 

So, in order to generate results, Bard was given user prompts so that it could draft several versions of a response. Bard classifies and checks answers against predetermined safety parameters. Responses which pass through the technical guardrails are then re-ranked based on their quality and response. After this, they are provided back to the user. 

How was Google Bard Trained?

Bard comprises a Search Feature which will use information from the web to provide relevant search information for users. Its search feature is similar to that of Google’s Knowledge Panel, which includes information about notable people, places and things. It allows for more natural language queries, rather than keywords, for search. 

For pre-training, Bard was trained with LaMDA. Like most LLMs, Bard was pre-trained using data from publicly available sources. This allowed the model to pick up on patterns in languages and use them to predict the next probable word or words in a sequence. As there are chances of the LLMs picking the wrong word, more data is used to enhance its chances of accurate response. 

To achieve more accuracy, Bard’s AI was trained with the help of natural-sounding conversations, queries and responses. Instead of giving a list of answers, it provides context to the responses. One of the integral aspects of Bard is that it is also designed to help with follow-up questions. This will bring a new element to the search, further going deeper into the search results. 

Although the initial version of Google’s Bard used LamBA, the incorporation of the PaLM language model helped Bard to be more visual in response to its queries. 

For What Purpose Can You Use Bard?

It is important to remember that although search is an important feature in Bard, it’s not the main purpose. Rather it helps users investigate knowledge. This means users can gain a deeper and more insightful understanding of their search queries and learn more about the topics or keywords they are searching for. 

With Bard, users can explore diverse options and perspectives about a topic. Therefore, you can think of Bard chat as an interactive method for accessing knowledge about various topics.

Another integral feature of Bard Google is that it collects information from the web to provide fresh and high-quality responses. One of the major problems that large language models face is they mimic answers that lead to factual errors. 

The researchers who created LaMDA stated that by increasing the size of the model, the factual accuracy could also be improved. But, many times this approach fails where facts are constantly changing. Researchers refer to this as the “temporal generalisation problem.” 

With LaMDA, the solution was to direct the query to information retrieval systems. An information retrieval system is a search engine, therefore, LaMDA checks search results. This feature is also incorporated in Bard, helping this model combine the intelligence and creativity of the LLMs.

How Can You Access Bard?

Follow the below steps to use Google AI chatbot Bard:

Step 1: Go to your search bar and type in this link, bard.google.com. The Bard homepage will open up. Click on Try Bard on the bottom-right corner of the page. 

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Step 2: Accept Google Terms and Privacy by clicking on More. After that, you will be further prompted to the terms and services. Read them and then click on I agree.

Step 3: Once you have selected I agree, Bard will open up. You can type in your prompt for Bard to generate results. Click on New Chat on the left sidebar when you want to use a new chat screen. 

You can also modify the response or make it longer or shorter after Bard has provided you with a response. You can also share and export your answer. The Google It button allows users to check its responses and explore its sources on the web. 

Is Google’s Bard Free to Use?

Yes, you can use Google’s Bard for free. Google has not indicated that it will charge users. As per Google’s history of not charging customers for services, the currency assumption is that Bard will be integrated into Google’s basic search engine. Therefore, it will be available for everyone for free use. 

What are the Limitations of Bard?

Like any AI chatbot, there are certain limitations you need to know when using Google’s Bard. During its first demo, Bard has given misleading information. This aspect can, however, be rectified with further training. 

The process of AI training is endless as it is a compute-intensive process as there is always new information to learn. Apart from this, Bard does not always provide a source for its information and is inconsistent with its responses. For instance, if you fed Bard a document and told it to analyse it, it cannot do so as it cannot read and understand documents. 

As Bard is in its early stages, it also has limited generative potential. It cannot produce lengthy articles, essays or detailed works of fiction. Therefore, its limitations make Bard inefficient in handling many tasks to perfection. 

How is Google Bard Different from ChatGPT?

OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard are both AI chatbots with similar functions. Both interact with people using their natural language models and machine learning. A significant similarity between the two chatbots is that they both use a large language model or LLM, a machine language model for generating conversational text. 

So, how does it differ? Can Bard be considered a ChatGPT alternative?

The answer to this question is no. Bard is still in its experimental phase and produces inconsistent results. So where are the major differences, you may ask?

  • Use of Generative AI

Firstly, ChatGPT uses generative AI, therefore it can produce original content. If a user asks it to write a thesis on the advantages of AI, ChatGPT will produce the result to fulfil this input. Although Bard caters to similar users’ questions, it serves slightly a different use. 

Google is more focused on making Bard more inclined towards insightful search results. It synthesises new information in its answers, thus, refining the search process. However, this aspect is available in OpenAI ChatGPT as well. 

In January, Microsoft signed a deal, reportedly worth $10 billion with Open to licence and incorporated ChatGPT into the Bing search engine. This would provide more conversational results like Google’s Bard. This opens the door to various other search engines that can also licence ChatGPT for similar outcomes. However, Bard is only meant to support Google. 

  • Response Limitation 

A key difference between ChatGPT and Bard is that the former’s data is limited until September 2021 whereas Bard can access the web. Therefore, Bard can search the web and provide current information which is a major limitation for the free version of ChatGPT. It uses two-year-old data to come up with answers. 

This is not the case for ChatGPT+. Users who have a premium subscription to ChatGPT have the similar advantage of getting access to current information. What ChatGPT does differently is that by using GPT-4, it can provide credible information along with its cited source. 

  • Image Output
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Another difference between the two AI chatbots is that Bard can use images as input and also provide image-generated output. While image input is not possible in the free version of ChatGPT, the premium version takes images as input prompts. However, ChatGPT+ does not provide image-generated output. 

Bard pulls images from Google when you ask a question that can be better answered with a photo. For example, if you ask Bard about some places you would like to visit in a particular country, it will provide you with the result along with pictures of those places. 

What are the Alternatives to Google Bard?

AI Chatbots have been around for a long time. There were multiple chatbots before the release of ChatGPT. However, the number has increased significantly because of the popularity of ChatGPT. Many startup companies around the world have developed similar-style chatbot technologies. 

Here are some alternatives that you can use instead of Bard:

  • Microsoft Bing

Microsoft partnered with OpenAI to offer exactly what Google will offer with Bard. And what is that? Search powered by AI to recognize natural language queries which will result in natural language responses. 

When a user uses Bing for a search query, they will not only receive the standard Bing result but also an answer generated by GPT-4. This will elevate the search engine’s function and the user will interact with the AI regarding its response.

  • Jasper Chat

Jasper Chat is a chatbot that is used as an AI copywriting tool. Users can generate texts specially aimed at companies that want brand-relevant content and have conversations with customers. This chatbot is a great alternative for users who want to use specific SEO keywords and tone of voice in their prompts to generate relevant answers. 

  • ChatSonic

ChatSonic was marketed as an alternative to ChatGPT combined with superpowers. Google Search powers this AI chatbot with an AI-based text generator known as WriterSonic. By using WriterSonic, users can discuss topics in real time to create texts or images. 

To use ChatSonic, users need to pay a monthly fee which starts at $12.67 per month. Although users can use this chatbot for free, they need to upgrade to the paid version to use all its features. 

  • YouChat

YouChat is the AI chatbot from the You.com search engine based in Germany. This AI chatbot offers answers to questions and also provides citations for each answer. This provides users with an added advantage. They can review the source and fact-check the responses, resulting in more accurate and credible answers. 

  • Neeva AI

Neeva AI is a part of the German search engine company known as Neeva. Like YouChat, this AI chatbot also provides cited sources and links for its answers. It generates answers using quotes from the sources and also summarises multiple sources to provide a brief answer. 

What Other AI Services Does Google Have? 

Google has developed several other AI services that are yet to be released to the public. For example, Google has developed an AI image generator called Imagen which can be used as an alternative to Open AI’s DALL-E. Google also has its AI music-generator called MusicLM which is yet to be released. 

Wrapping Up

Thus, Google Bard is a revolutionising online search. It offers a personalised and efficient search experience, powered by advanced AI. Although Bard has faced a few setbacks, it is important to remember that it is still in its early stages. What you can expect from Google Bard in the future is a more enhanced, more personalised and efficient search experience along with precise and relevant results.