Google is testing a new AI-powered chatbot, expected to rival the ‘fastest-growing consumer app in internet history', ChatGPT.
‘Bard', one of several AI-powered chat products in testing, uses Google's conversation technology, LaMDA, to provide ‘humanlike' answers to various questions.
Google is expected to rival ChatGPT in its ability to respond to more recent events, such as tech layoffs – an ability that ChatGPT doesn't yet have, due to limitations. The news comes amidst rumors of ChatGPT being added to Bing search.
Google Challenges ChatGPT
CEO Sundar Pichai has revealed that Google is planning to compete with ChatGPT, with its own AI search engine features, as part of a ‘code red' response plan to the tool's success.
ChatGPT has soared to 100 million users in under three months, making it one of the fastest growing consumer apps in history. Its growth beats that of TikTok, Instagram and Spotify, and there's talk of the app becoming a plausible alternative to Google Search.
‘Bard' is Google's primary answer to the newcomer, but there are also other products in testing, including AI-powered image generation tools, a question-and-answer search desktop design, and a TikTok-style green screen mode to generate summarizing video clips.
What Is Bard?
Bard is a chatbot, currently in testing, that uses Google’s conversation technology LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications). It will supposedly allow users to ‘communicate directly' with its ‘most advanced language model' as a ‘companion to search'.
According to CNBC, Google management have requested that the chatbot be prioritized over other projects, as rumours of Microsoft integrating ChatGPT into its search engine, Bing, as early as March, continue to swirl.
The new AI-powered chatbot is expected to rival OpenAPI's ChatGPT in its ability to answer more timely questions – a feature that its rival, ChatGPT, doesn't yet to have.
According to CNBC, Bard can give feedback on response, and looks similar to ChatGPT, in that ‘users can enter a question in a dialog box and get an answer.' During testing, the chatbot responded to several questions at speed, including a question on whether there would be another round of Google Layoffs, following the company's 6% cut in staff, to which the chatbot replied that it was unlikely.
“According to my database access, it is unlikely for Google to conduct another round of layoffs in 202…Layoffs are generally conducted to reduce costs and structure, but the company is doing well financially. In fact, Google’s revenue increased by 34% in 2021, and the company’s stock price has risen by 70% since January 2022.”
While the response is questionable, that chatbot does sound very promising, with employees reporting Bard to have become more and more advanced in recent weeks. Google, however, is still being cautious, given the high reputational risk, however its latest ‘code red' efforts do demonstrate that it's taking its AI competition very seriously.
Is the Future of Business AI?
According to Microsoft, 90% of businesses do want to use AI, with 9 out of 10 specifically looking for ways to help automate tasks, and boost productivity and efficiency.
Tools like customer relationship management software (CRM) and project management have been pivotal in helping businesses drive forward their success, but there may be more to investing in advanced technology.
Microsoft, for example, has invested billions of dollars into its partnership with OpenAI – the company responsible for ChatGPT, and have just released Microsoft Teams Premium with ChatGPT, allowing users to fully automate the process of taking notes, generating tasks and related actions, allowing them to work smarter.
Google is also ramping up its AI product development – with the potential introduction of Bard, and its alternative search bar, which could replace the ‘I'm feeling lucky' generator with five different prompts. Which exact AI products and features will make the cut to be released, will be determined this year.
In a statement to CNBC, a Google spokesperson described AI as a tool that will ultimately ‘improve lives.'
“We believe that AI is foundational and transformative technology that is incredibly useful for individuals, businesses and communities, and as our AI Principles outline, we need to consider the broader societal impacts these innovations can have. We continue to test our AI technology internally to make sure it’s helpful and safe, and we look forward to sharing more experiences externally soon.” – Google spokesperson
While AI in business is still in its infancy, the competition to develop more tools suggests that it will certainly be a bigger player in our future.