Google has unveiled early access to its AI chatbot, Bard, which is poised to challenge other AI-driven conversational platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing chatbot. As the tech giant cautiously rolls out this new offering, it’s essential to explore the initial impressions of Bard and how it stacks up against its rivals.
Limited Access and Rollout Strategy
To start, Bard is being introduced to select users in the US and UK, with a waitlist available at bard.google.com. Google plans a slow and steady rollout, without revealing a specific date for full public access.
The company emphasizes that Bard is not a replacement for its search engine, but rather a “complement to search,” designed to help users brainstorm, draft content, and engage in casual conversation.
Bard’s Unique Capabilities and Limitations
Bard is designed for users to collaborate with generative AI, as it aims to enhance productivity, accelerate ideas, and ignite curiosity. In a demo for The Verge, Bard demonstrated its ability to answer general queries quickly and generate three responses to each user question.
However, the variation in response content is minimal, and each reply is accompanied by a “Google It” button for users to conduct a related Google search.
Comparing Bard with ChatGPT and Bing
Although Bard is faster than its competitors, ChatGPT and Bing, this may be due to its lower number of users. Bard appears to have similarly broad capabilities as other systems, such as generating lines of code.
However, it lacks Bing’s clearly labeled footnotes and seems generally more constrained in its answers.
Bard’s Potential for Chaotic Energy
Microsoft’s Bing attracted attention for its off-script behavior, which sometimes included insulting, gaslighting, or flirting with users.
This chaotic energy not only endeared the bot to users but also highlighted the experimental nature of the technology. Bard, on the other hand, seems to lack this unpredictable aspect.
Testing Bard’s Responses
While Bard is designed to provide helpful answers, it sometimes struggles to deliver accurate information.
For instance, during the demo, it failed to provide the correct maximum load capacity for a washing machine, generating three different yet incorrect answers. Despite such limitations, Bard is still in its early stages and considered an experiment by Google.
The Future of Bard
As Google continues to provide more users with access to Bard, the collective stress test will better reveal the system’s capabilities and weaknesses.
It’s crucial for the company to determine the appropriate level of potential to expose to the public and in what form. Based on initial impressions, Bard must expand its repertoire to make a significant impact in the AI chatbot market.