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What is Google Bard? Everything you need to know

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For years, Google has been spending a ton of money on AI or Artificial Intelligence. It’s built into your smartphone, even if you don’t use an Android phone. So when OpenAI launched ChatGPT, and it showed just how good it was, it was clear that Google was behind. So it launched Bard. It’s own AI chatbot, that should be really good. After all, it has the power of Google Search behind it. Though it’s first demo didn’t go as planned.

So here’s everything you need to know about Google Bard.

What is Google Bard?

Bard is a new Google experimental AI product. It’s basically an AI chat bot that the company has been developing, and it’s meant to be a competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Though, the big leg up that it has over ChatGPT is that it has the power of Google Search behind it. Google’s search engine is the biggest in the world, and has a ton of information, that Bard will already have. Instead of being two years out of date like ChatGPT is. ChatGPT was trained on data up until 2021.

When was Bard announced?

Bard was officially announced on February 6. Google released a statement from its CEO, Sundar Pichai talking about Bard. Which was an entirely new concept at the announcement. This AI chat service is being powered by Google’s LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), which the company unveiled a few years ago. And it also shows off quite often at Google I/O.

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Bard’s waitlist

On March 21, 2023, Google published a blog post about joining the waitlist for Bard. Google is opening up Bard for people to try, but only in the US and UK. This is most likely because Bard is in English only right now, and Google wants to limit how many can use it, for now. Which is smart, seeing as how many are using ChatGPT and putting it at capacity almost all day long now.

You can sign up for the Bard waitlist by clicking here.

Update: At Google I/O, on May 10, Google announced that the waitlist is now over for Bard. Anyone, in select countries can sign up and start using Bard.

What languages is Bard available in?

Bard is currently available in English, Japanese and Korean. But it is slated to support more than 40 languages by the end of the year.

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Why did Google decide to announce Bard now?

It’s probably pretty obvious why Google decided to announce Bard now. In what appears to be a bit early for Google. And that’s because ChatGPT has been a viral hit since it was released last year. It’s so popular in fact, that most of the time, you can’t even access ChatGPT due to there being to many people using it. UBS claims that ChatGPT is the fastest-growing app of all time. Which forced Google’s hand a bit here, as they are the ones known for doing things like ChatGPT.

Besides Search, artificial intelligence is Google’s other big money-making area. So Google knew that it needed to go ahead and get Bard out there. But it didn’t really work out as they had planned.

This all happened in the same week that Microsoft announced the “New Bing” which has ChatGPT integrated into the search engine.

How does Bard work?

As mentioned already, Bard is powered by LaMDA, which was built on Transformer, Google’s neural network architecture that it had invented in 2017. Google also notes that GPT-3, which is the language model that ChatGPT functions on, was also built on Transformer.

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Initially, Bard will use a lightweight model version of LaMDA because it would require less computing power. It could also be scaled to more users, according to the company. Bard will also draw on all of the information from the web to provide responses. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, also noted that pulling from the web would provide “fresh, high-quality responses.” And it should also mean that we won’t get outdated information, like we currently get with ChatGPT.

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How can you access Bard?

Bard has not yet been released to the public. Google says that it is currently testing Bard with a small group of “trusted testers”. Both internal and external feedback is going to be taken into account. This is to ensure that the service is ready to be released to the public and adheres to Google’s AI responsibility standards.

Google has said that Bard will be available to everyone in the weeks following the initial announcement, which was on February 6. But that was before the little demo fail that it had. So that might get pushed back a bit further.

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What can Bard do?

So what can Bard do? Basically, everything. First off, Bard has access to the internet. So it is actually pretty up-to-date, compared to ChatGPT which is using two-year-old data at this point. So if you ask it for the best smartphones, it’ll be pretty up-to-date, but you might also get year-old phones. For instance, today, I get options like the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max for that query. But depending on how you word it, you could get the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Google is also adding plugins to Bard. Now this is something that ChatGPT has, but it is not available for free. Bard is. Google has announced that you will be able to order groceries with Instacart, Book a reservation with OpenTable, Plan a trip with Kayak, and so much more.

Bard is also able to write code for you, and now, you can export that code and execute it with ease. Making it so much easier to code apps and programs.

Finally, Bard can also summarize news articles, as well as write them and write titles for articles. Just ask it to “summarize this article [link]” and it’ll summarize the article for you. Which can be very helpful if you need a little bit of information from a very long article.

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This is just a very, very short list of what Bard can do. And Google is continuing to improve it, so this list will expand greatly over the next few months.

What other AI products does Google have?

Google isn’t new to AI, quite the opposite actually. Google has a number of AI products that have not yet been released to the public. Typically, Google will tred lightly when it comes to AI products. As it doesn’t want to release something until it is confident in its performance. Which shows just how worried Google was about ChatGPT.

Outside of actual chatbots and other AI products, Google also has a number of AI components in its Pixel smartphones. It has the Google Assistant, which can do all sorts of things like screening calls for you. As well as clear calling which uses AI to cancel out all of the background noise when you’re on the phone in a noisy place. It also has Magic Eraser, which uses AI to remove objects from photos, among many other features.