Google Launches ChatGPT Rival Called 'Bard' For testing in US and UK

Google Launches ChatGPT Rival Called 'Bard' For testing in US and UK
The logo for Google LLC at the Google Store Chelsea in Manhattan, New York, on Nov. 17, 2021. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Bryan Jung

Google launched its ChatGPT rival, "Bard" for testing in the United Kingdom and the United States to rival the currently popular ChatGPT.

The tech company invited people in both countries to test its new AI chatbot in a bid to catch up with its Microsoft-backed competitor.

Google announced the development of Bard last month, just two weeks after Microsoft announced a new multibillion-dollar investment into OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools.

Microsoft had already been investing billions into OpenAI since 2019.

Artificial intelligence apps like Bard and ChatGPT can write essays, poems, or computer code after given orders and have been called the greatest advancement in tech since the arrival of the iPhone over a decade and a half ago.

Testing Bard Before Release

Google was planning to open up the technology to “trusted testers” before making it more widely available to the public, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post in February.

According to a memo seen by AFP, Pichai told his staff on March 21 that after testing the new chatbot with 80,000 Google employees, Bard would be publicly previewed with American and British testers as the “first step” before it is sent out to more countries in other languages.

“As more people start to use Bard and test its capabilities, they’ll surprise us,” wrote Pichai.

Pichai has plans to integrate AI features such as its next-generation language and conversation app, called Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), into its Google search engine to help generate better responses for more complex queries.

Currently, Google operates by indexing content from the billions of web pages that it scans and later ranking it in order of relevance to users’ search queries.

“Things will go wrong. But the user feedback is critical to improving the product and the underlying technology,” explained Pichai.

However, the Google CEO has faced some criticism within the company for falling behind Microsoft in the artificial intelligence race.

AI Prototype Trials

For those in the U.K. and in America wanting to participate in the test launch of Bard they can sign up to a waiting list on its own website at
“We’ve learned a lot so far by testing Bard, and the next critical step in improving it is to get feedback from more people,” wrote Google vice presidents Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins in a March 21 blog post.

Although the technology behind the AI chatbots can be amazing to those in the industry, they still have their faults, the two VPs cautioned.

Google has taken a more cautious and methodical approach when it comes to its rollout of the advanced AI tech to consumers, in contrast to Microsoft’s quicker release, which gave ChatGPT a controversial reputation with many embarrassing bugs needing to be addressed.

 Screens displaying the logos of OpenAI and ChatGPT in Toulouse, southwestern France, on Jan. 23, 2023. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)
Screens displaying the logos of OpenAI and ChatGPT in Toulouse, southwestern France, on Jan. 23, 2023. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

ChatGPT has gained tens of millions of users since its trial release at the end of last November and was forced to turn away many applicants due to high demand.

OpenAI announced the release of a long-awaited update of its AI technology on March 14, which it said would be safer and more accurate than its predecessor.

The new update, known as GPT-4, is now available to the public via ChatGPT Plus, OpenAI’s paid subscription service, and on an AI-powered version of Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

The GPT-4 system update has new capabilities, such as accepting images as inputs and generating captions, classifications, and analyses.

It is also capable of handling over 25,000 words of text, which allows for use cases such as long-form content creation, extended conversations, and document search and analysis.

When asked by reporters from AFP how it was different from ChatGPT, Bard responded that, unlike its main rival, it was “able to access and process information from the real world through Google Search and keep my response consistent with search results.”

The bot told AFP that it was still “under development, while ChatGPT has been released to the public. This means that I am constantly learning and improving, while ChatGPT is likely to remain relatively unchanged.”

Microsoft responded to the release by saying that its quick adoption of generative AI has given its Bing search engine a massive user boost in recent weeks, but it is still well below in popularity to Google, which dominates about 85 percent of the search engine market worldwide.

Bryan S. Jung is a native and resident of New York City with a background in politics and the legal industry. He graduated from Binghamton University.