Google is rolling out open access to the chatbot Bard, its answer to ChatGPT’s artificial intelligence computer program.
The search engine said the “early experiment” makes the generative AI chatbot available for people in the U.S. and Britain starting Tuesday, with more countries and languages to be added at a later date. The announcement was made in a Google blog post written with Bard’s assistance.
“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,” the Google blog post reads. The company said it will continue to improve the chatbot and add capabilities, such as going beyond text responses to other mediums like images, audio or video.
How to use Google's Bard
Instead of being incorporated directly into Google’s search engine, Bard can be found on its own website. Users can enter their prompts in a text box.
The AI tool was built as a complementary experience to Google Search. After Bard generates a response, a “Google it” button attached to the answer can open a new tab with a related search results page.
Google says Bard will often answer a prompt with a number of drafts, allowing users to pick the best starting point for their conversation with the chatbot.
How Google Bard works
Much like Bing's chatbot, Bard is powered by a research large language model, which Google describes as a “prediction engine” that generates responses by selecting words it believes are likely to come next.
Google warned that this technology has faults, and has been shown to reflect biases and stereotypes or provide false information.
It's a common issue among chatbots. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman in February said ChatGPT "has shortcomings around bias," and Microsoft in 2016 had to shut down a chatbot named Tay after it used racial slurs on Twitter.
Google said it is using human feedback to improve its system and has built in guardrails to try to keep interactions “helpful and on topic.”
“We'll learn alongside you as we go. With your feedback, Bard will keep getting better and better,” Google’s blog says.
Sign up instructions for Bard waitlist
The waitlist to sign up to try Bard is available at bard.google.com.
A ChatGPT alternative
Google's announcement follows the launch of San Francisco-based startup OpenAI's online chatbot ChatGPT in November. Earlier this year, Microsoft added a similar chatbot to its search engine Bing.
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it would bring Bing Image Creator – a tool that uses AI to turn text prompts into images – to the new AI-powered Bing and Edge preview. The technology is powered by an advanced version of the DALL-E model from OpenAI.