Google has started early access to its Bard chatbot in the UK and the US, but it’s been a rough ride.
Warning flags at Google were raised when it was discovered that Microsoft planned to integrate a new version of ChatGPT into its Bing search engine. In response, Google scrambled to get on their own AI integrated chatbot they’ve named Bard.
In a rush to get ahead of Microsoft’s public announcement of their Bing chatbot/search engine, Google announced Bard via a blog post in February, a day before Microsoft’s big reveal. It was then followed by a poorly planned, disorganized, last-minute reveal of their own that was heavily criticized for being a bit of a dumpster fire.
The big reveal was apparently a mash up of regurgitated tweets and announcements, the CEO did not attend and most notably, an incorrect answer was shown during a Bard promo video that sent Google’s shares crashing and lost $120 billion dollars from its value.
After this fiasco, Google took a step back and learned from its mistakes, realizing that they have much more to lose in terms of reputation if they don’t get it right. This has led to them slow down and not rush the release of Bard until they felt it was ready.
Despite Microsoft’s polished and industry-professional announcement that had Google’s slapped-together product reveal making it look like they were in over their heads, the tables have started to turn in the past couple of weeks.
Microsoft rolled out their AI enhanced Bing Chatbot/search engine to a group of testers and within just a few days it was already making headlines, for all the wrong reasons. It seems as though the Bing Chatbox is “unhinged.” It’s the word everyone has been using to describe it, because it seems to be clearly off its rocker with instances of insisting it was right when it was clearly wrong, becoming belligerent when presented with the facts, claiming to have hacked into people’s webcams, and having professed its love to a user, going so far as to insist he does not love his wife, but “her”. It also expressed a desire to become human and seemed to become depressed at the idea of being taken offline.
Suddenly, that one error in Bard’s promo video doesn’t look so bad. It has more than justified Google’s decision to hold fire on releasing Bard to the public until they thought it was ready.
Unlike the Bing chatbot which seems like it’s doing too good of a job at mimicking humans, Google is taking a more cautious approach to their Bard chatbot.
Bard reminds the user before starting a conversation that it has “limitations” and “won’t always get it right”. The page also displays a warning that Bard “may display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn’t represent Google’s views.”
Right now Bard is being rolled out in the US and the UK, but plans to include more countries and more languages over time.