With Google Bard, the most anticipated technological announcement of recent months has arrived. Since the arrival of ChatGPT and, above all, since Microsoft’s plans with OpenAI to integrate the chatbot in Microsoft Bing. Google’s hegemony with its web search engine could be threatened, for the first time in a long time, for not being the first to offer a technological innovation that aims to revolutionize and reinvent information search engines on the Internet.
As soon as the first rumors and leaks about the collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI arose, Google wanted to make a move and announced that in a few months we would have news about it, which made us think of Google I/O 2023 as the platform for the announcement of its advances related to artificial intelligence. However, it seems that the plans for Bing are moving quite fast, to the point that some users have already been able to test it, so waiting until May does not seem like a good idea.
This is how they must have thought in the offices of the search engine company, so we can imagine that a large team of engineers must have joined those who were already exclusively dedicated to it and, with a period of days, Google announced last week a event for next Wednesday. All signs pointed, therefore, to the day after tomorrow we would finally know, the company’s plans to compete with the OpenAI chabot.
However, the wait has been even shorter, so much so that it is over. And it is that as we can read in The Keyword, the official blog of the search engine, Google has announced Bard, its artificial intelligence-based chatbot with which it will compete with ChatGPT. We can get an idea of the key importance of this announcement by seeing that said publication is signed by Sundar PichaiCEO of the company, who also told investors a few days ago that there would be news in this regard soon.
Not much is revealed about Bard in said publication, we will have to wait for Wednesday’s event to, with almost total probability, be able to expand the information about it. However, there are some important points in this text that we will review below.
The first thing is that, As expected, Bard will use LaMDA, (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), a platform designed by the company for this purpose and that we already knew about, since its engineers have been working on it for two years now. Thus, we can assume that Bard will have a high level of maturity, technologically speaking.
Regarding the approach of this chatbot, Sundar Pichai states that «Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our great language models. […] Relies on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality answers«. The concept of “fresh” is particularly important here, as it could signal that its update rate, i.e. the frequency with which the model is “retrained” with more current posts, may be higher than that of the OpenIA chatbot, which only recently, a few weeks ago, did you “learn” that Windows 11 already exists.
This has a head and a tail. Obviously, if the model is fed daily with recent information, your answers will be better adapted to the current context, which will make it more useful as a tool integrated into an information browser. However, the selection process might have to be much more relaxed, opening the door to fearsome biases which, unfortunately, have been quite common in the past when there is no editing process to prevent them.
We can also read that, unlike the public beta model used by OpenAI, Bard will not open to all users from the start. Instead, Google has chosen to launch a reduced first version of Bard, which will be shared exclusively with a group of previously selected users. “We will combine external feedback with our own internal testing to ensure that Bard’s responses meet a high level of quality, safety, and robustness to real-world data.Pichai said. «We are excited about this testing phase which will help us continue to learn and improve the quality and speed of Bard.«.
Thus, although the announcement has already been made and the presentation is imminent, It looks like we’ll still have to wait until we can test Bard for ourselves.. Now, with Microsoft close to opening its testing program for the new Bing, Google knows that they must move in the short term if they want to avoid curiosity leading many users to start testing the Microsoft search engine. Thus, we can understand that the deadlines will be tremendously tight.
The title of the post, “An important next step on our AI journey”, also hints that Bard is just one step on a road that promises to be long. Pichai notes that as user search requests become more complex and nuanced, in response “you’ll see AI-powered features in search that pull complex, multi-perspective information into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more«.
This is very interesting, as it indicates that Bard (and/or his successors) will be able to do complex analysis, based on multiple sources (which may not coincide with each other) and will be able to draw conclusions and present them to the user. However, at this point it should be key for the chatbot to clearly identify, to the user, the sources used for said process. Otherwise, doubts may outweigh the confidence that users may have in the system.
We already anticipated, a few weeks ago, that artificial intelligence was going to be one of the great technological protagonists of this 2023, and we were not wrong. It seems that, in a matter of a few weeks or, at most, a few months, we will experience an evolution in Internet search engines comparable to when algorithms and search engines replaced directories, precisely the moment in which Google began to become the empire it is today.
Thus, we can affirm that Google was the great protagonist of that evolutionary leap, and now, with Bard, it intends not to be left out “of the picture” in the arrival of the new generation of search engines. What they tell us on Wednesday at Live from Paris will help us better understand what they’re cooking up and if, for all we know, they’ll be able to stand up to Bing with ChatGPT. It’s a tough challenge but personally I think Bard will be up to it and he’ll surprise us. We’ll tell you on Wednesday.