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Google launches ChatGPT rival Bard in US and UK


Google chatbot is the latest AI app that produces essays, poems and computer code on command.

Google has invited people in the UK and US to test its AI chatbot, known as Bard, as it continues its gradual path to catching up with Microsoft-backed ChatGPT.

Producing essays, poems or computer code on demand, Bard, ChatGPT and other similar artificial intelligence apps have taken the world by storm as the biggest new thing in technology since the arrival of the iPhone.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told staff on Tuesday that after testing Bard with 80,000 Google employees, the chatbot would be tested with UK and US audiences as a “first step” before moving to more countries in other languages.

“As more people start using Bard and test its capabilities, they will surprise us,” Pichai said in a memo to staff viewed by AFP.

“Things will go wrong. But user feedback is critical to improving the product and the underlying technology,” added Pichai, who received some criticism within the company for rushing to catch up with Microsoft.

At launch, people who want to play with Bard will be able to sign up to a waiting list on the bard.google.com website, clearly separate from the tech giant’s search engine.

“We’ve learned a lot from testing Bard so far, and the next critical step to improve it is to get feedback from more people,” Google vice presidents Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins said in a blog post.

As exciting as chatbots can be, they have their flaws, Hsiao and Collins warned.

Google has so far taken a more cautious approach to rolling out generative AI to consumers, in contrast to Microsoft’s choice to make the products available quickly despite reports of issues.

ChatGPT’s OpenAI is backed by Microsoft, which earlier this year said it would fund the research company for billions of dollars.

Asked by AFP how his product differed from ChatGPT, Bard said that unlike its Microsoft-backed rival, it was “able to access and process real-world information through Google Search and keep my response consistent with the search results.”

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

OpenAI recently released a much-anticipated update to its AI technology that it says is more secure and accurate than its predecessor.

Much of the firepower of the new model, known as GPT-4, is now available to the general public through ChatGPT Plus, OpenAI’s paid subscription, and on an AI-powered version of Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Microsoft has said rapid adoption of generative AI has boosted usage of its Bing search engine in recent weeks, but it’s still a clear underdog to Google, which controls about 85 percent of the global search engine market.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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