Google is launching AI chatbot Bard to rival ChatGPT

7 Feb 2023

Image: © Markus Mainka/

Google also plans to incorporate AI into its search engine, following Microsoft’s decision to give Bing a boost by using ChatGPT.

Google has announced plans to launch its own AI chatbot called Bard, following the rapid rise of ChatGPT.

The company plans to make this new chatbot available to the public “in the coming weeks”. Bard has been made available to “trusted testers” ahead of this launch in order to enhance the model before release, according to Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

“We’ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information,” Pichai said. “We’re excited for this phase of testing to help us continue to learn and improve Bard’s quality and speed.”

Pichai said Bard will be able to combine the world’s knowledge with the “power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models”.

Bard will be powered by LaMDA, Google’s language model designed for dialogue applications.

This model was first unveiled by Google two years ago and faced a period of controversy last year when a Google software engineer claimed the AI model was sentient. Google and various AI experts disputed the validity of this claim.

Pichai said the new AI chatbot will launch initially with “our lightweight model version of LaMDA”, as this smaller model requires less computing power, allowing it to reach more people faster for testing.

ChatGPT rivalry

Google’s plans to launch a chatbot follow the surge in popularity received by ChatGPT since its demo launch last November. A recent study estimated that ChatGPT reached 100m monthly active users last month, Reuters reports.

The success of ChatGPT has drawn the attention of large companies such as Microsoft, who provided a multibillion funding boost to OpenAI last month. This came days after Microsoft said it would be adding ChatGPT to its Azure cloud services soon.

The computer giant also plans to give its search engine Bing a boost by integrating the chatbot.

Google seems to be trying to counter this move by Microsoft, as Pichai said “AI-powered features” will soon be incorporated into Google Search.

Meanwhile, Chinese tech company Baidu has also revealed plans to enter this growing AI chatbot race, with plans to finish testing a ChatGPT-style project called “Ernie Bot” in March, Reuters reports.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic