Google began the public release of its chatbot, Bard, on Tuesday, seeking users and feedback as it enters the artificial intelligence race.
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Users in the US and UK can now join a waiting list for English-language access to Bard, a program previously restricted to approved testers.
Google still calls Bard an “early experiment” in getting users to collaborate with generative AI.
Last year’s release of ChatGPT, a chatbot from Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI, has sparked a sprint in the tech sector to get AI into the hands of more users.
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Just last week, Google and Microsoft made a flurry of AI announcements two days apart. The companies are putting draft writing technology into their word processors and other collaboration software, as well as marketing-related tools for web developers to build their own AI-based applications.
When asked if competitive dynamics were behind Bard’s rollout, Jack Krawczyk, a senior product director, said Google was targeting users. Internal and external testers turn to Bard for “boosting their productivity, accelerating their ideas, sparking their curiosity,” he said.
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In a demonstration of the site, bard.google.com, to Reuters, Krawczyk showed how the program produces blocks of text in an instant, unlike ChatGPT typing answers word for word.
Bard also added a feature that showed three different versions or “drafts” of any given answer for users to switch between, and showed a button that said “Google it” if a user wanted web results for a query.
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Unlike ChatGPT, Bard is not adept at generating computer code, according to Google on its website.
Google also said it has limited Bard’s recollection of previous exchanges in a chat and that it is not currently using Bard for advertising, the core of Google’s business model.
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“Bard won’t always get it right,” a Google pop-up warned during the demo. Last month, a promotional video showed the program answering a question incorrectly, costing the company £100,000,000,000.