What is Bard AI? Getting To Know Google Bard

AI has been unleashed onto the masses in a very big way over these past several months, which has resulted in millions of people worldwide using platforms like Lensa, Craiyon, and Midjourney to ‘create’ new art, and ChatGPT and Claude 2 to converse with an artificially intelligent chatbot.

So, it goes without saying that it’s looking increasingly unlikely that this burgeoning tech will be put back into Pandora’s Box.

Just around the corner is the long-awaited launch of a new AI chatbot known as Bard, which is the brainchild of the master of all things tech, Google. 

What is Bard AI, exactly?

Based on the tech giant’s Gemini large language model, Bard will no doubt take over the world, just like its ubiquitous search engine, email, browser, and Workspace apps have done over the past 20 years or so.

So, if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, in this blog post we’re going to get to know Google Bard, its capabilities, and use cases.

What Is Bard AI?

Widely recognized as the greatest English playwright, poet, dramatist, and actor of the Renaissance period, and even of all time in some circles, William Shakespeare was also known as ‘The Bard’, although there were many declared bards as far back as the 1st Century AD, who were considered the storytellers, poets, singers, and oral historians of Celtic culture.

And perhaps this is why Google has deemed fit to declare the name of its long-awaited AI chatbot, Bard, after such an esteemed character.

From one English literature great to an AI that has been designed to simulate human conversations, the new Bard on the block will definitely become a prominent figure in the future of writing and the English language as a whole.

Bard’s main competitor, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is built using natural language processing, and it does a pretty decent job when you prompt it with specific intent, although the data that it has been programmed with was gathered from the internet before 2021.

And this is why Bard is set to become a popular AI chatbot in this space.

Previously, Bard had been built on Google’s LaMDA project, but it has recently been integrated with a more powerful model, Google Gemini Pro. In benchmarks, this LLM scores equal to or higher than ChatGPT 3.5 on many benchmarks, however, it generally does not surpass ChatGPT-4 (the paid Plus verison).

 Google is set to release the Ultra version of Gemini, which supposedly equals or beats ChatGPT-4, but there’s no release date yet. Wharton Professor Ethan Mollick shows this chart that compares the various versions of Gemini and ChatGPT:

So, what does this mean? Well, basically, that Bard will be a more up-to-date AI chatbot inherently, because it will be able to offer responses in real time from current data as it produces output.

In addition, the Gemini conversational model gives Bard the ability to output high-quality, human-like responses when you ask it a question, have it summarize text, or ask it to generate creative ideas, because it has been trained with dialogue data.

See this article for a comparison between Google Bard and ChatGPT.

How to Get Access to Bard

Currently, the way to get access through this link: Google Bard. From there, you will need to agree to a few terms, and you’ll be ready to go, chatting away.

The system looks very similar to competing AI chatbots, though it is noticeably faster than most of the competition. Here’s a screenshot:

Google’s Bard system is gradually being merged with its regular search results in a manner known as Search Generative Experience, or SGE. This is a similar move to what Microsoft did when it upgraded its Bing search engine and Edge browser with an OpenAI large language model chatbot that’s even more powerful than ChatGPT.

And while Google has publicly praised its progress with SGE and doubled down on it, many users are not thrilled with its results. The launch has been rocky, with many complaints.

Early Missteps

A big reason why Bard has been delayed in its launch could be because of an embarrassing (for Google) result to a Tweet that went wrong, after a demo of the service was given at an event in Paris in February 2023. The result saw shares in the Big Tech giant’s stock fall a massive 9%, or $100 billion, in market value in one day alone. 

Referring to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the Tweet showed Bard being asked: What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old about? The answers included a blatant error: that the JWST took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our solar system, which is also known as an exoplanet.

The thing is though, it was the European Southern Observatory’s telescope, back in 2004, that was the first to take pictures of an exoplanet.

How embarrassing, because Google could have literally Googled that!

But as of December of 2023, Bard was integrated with Google Gemini Pro and PaLM 2, which has significantly improved its capabilities.

Will Bard Be Free?

Google has a reputation of offering its most popular services for free to accommodate all digital users, such as its Chrome browser, Gmail service, and, of course, its ubiquitous search engine. 

This means that more than likely, its Bard AI service will also be offered for free. However, it is likely that the Gemini Ultra model will be a subscription service.

So, although it hasn’t been announced that Bard AI will require a fee to use it, professional users may get access first for a price. And, like all things Google, even though it will probably be free to most, it will come at some cost — in terms of your privacy.

Final Thoughts

As of publication, it’s been a year since OpenAI released ChatGPT, and Google has only released a public model that is equal to ChatGPT-3.5. While it presents benchmarks showing the Ultra model beating ChatGPT-4, the Ultra model still has not been released, and there is no release date yet.

Bard hasn’t really taken off yet, but it will be interesting to see how users connect with the new Gemini model. Additionally, Google has also invested in the impressive Claude 2, which is worth trying out as well.