Google makes Bard more widely availableBack
Yesterday, Google made its chatbot Bard available to a limited number of selected users in the United States and the United Kingdom. Others can sign up for a waiting list at bard.google.com, though Google doesn't want to rush things and hasn't set a date for full release of the bot yet.
That Google is proceeding with caution, is apparent from an email from Google's CEO Sundar Pichai to his employees. In this he indicates that “things will go wrong” with Bard, but also that users of Bard “will surprise us”. Google therefore emphasizes that Bard is not a replacement for the search engine, but an addition, a means to generate ideas or to write a first draft.
Journalists immediately started working with Bard to test the chatbot, and of course to see if they can get any absurd or indecent comments out of it…
First impressions of Bard
The first thing you notice is that Bard's answers are rather meaningless if you take a closer look, just like those of other chatbots for that matter. When asked for tips on learning to play guitar, Bard comes up with the following suggestions:
- Start with the basics.
- Find the guitar that suits you best.
- Provide an ideal learning environment.
- Improve your guitar playing by playing songs.
- Listen to songs to reproduce them.
- Exercise regularly.
- Be patient.
- Have fun!
Not exactly sky-storming new ideas…
Bard as a search engine
It seems that Google is very much on the safe side with the new version of Bard. No obvious blunders or misconduct, such as remarks that the journalist should leave his wife, have been identified, but few things that are really surprising. And Bard also apologizes often…
As a search engine, Bard is often wrong, more often than Microsoft's competitor Bing. It showed the price of Apple stock of a few hours ago, and gave a wrong birthday and misinformation about pubs, while Bing showed real-time information about Apple stock. If Bard gets something wrong, you can use the "Google it" button, but the chatbot delivers its answers so convincingly that you don't know if something is true or not. While the search engine Google is very strong in finding the right information, Bard shows shortcomings in this area. The integration of ChatGPT in Bing seems to be better so far. But perhaps Google wants to keep search engine and chatbot separate on purpose so as not to jeopardize its revenue model (advertisements in the search engine)?