Even though Microsoft Inc-backed OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT has become a global phenomenon, search engine behemoth Google Inc is in no mood to give up on its search engine ‘crown’ so easily and is coming up with back-to-back announcements on the generative AI front.
A day after partnering with one of the potential rivals to ChatGPT -- Anthropic -- Google today announced the rollout of a chatbot named 'Bard', a new experimental conversational GoogleAI service, which is powered by LaMDA. LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) is a powerful AI model that Google first released in May 2021. It works on similar technology as ChatGPT.
The Bard rollout comes just days after Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said the company will soon come up with big language AI-powered models, which will work as a "champion to search”. After today’s announcement, Pichai said this AI tool seeks to "combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of its large language models”. The chatbot, like CahtGPT, draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses. Google has said for now, it is opening 'Bard' up to trusted "external testers".
"Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills," Google adds in a statement.
The Google CEO has said the company will combine the feedback of external testers with its own internal testing to make sure Bard's responses meet its "high bar for quality, safety, and groundedness". Bard will be made more widely available "in coming weeks", it says. "It's early, we will launch, iterate and make it better."
The announcement can be seen in the context of ground-breaking developments in the text-generative AI space in recent months, with Microsoft-backed OpenAI leading the chart by gaining popularity among developers, researchers, and businesses. The popularity of newcomer AI systems like ChatGPT and DALL-E has already put Google on the back foot as despite working in the AI space for years, it has not released any sophisticated tools like these.
Pichai has also said Google is also starting with AI-powered features in "Search", which powers much of its profits. The AI-powered features in Google Search will distil complex info into "easy-to-digest formats". "As people turn to Google for deeper insights and understanding, AI can help us get to the heart of what they're looking for," said Pichai.
Google announcements on the AI front assume significance after the recent moves by Microsoft, which announced a "multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment (around $10 billion)" in ChatGPT owner OpenAI in January 2023 as it looks to commercialise the advanced AI tech across its consumer and enterprise products. Before that, in 2019 and 2021, Microsoft had infused more than $1 billion in the startup.
Interestingly, soon after Google's announcement, Microsoft announced it's holding a media event today, in which, say reports, the tech major could reveal new AI-powered features on its search engine Bing. Despite its worldwide popularity, however, experts have advised caution against relying too much on chatbots like ChatGPT, primarily because of their inability to update the latest information.