Just last week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai promised during a quarterly earnings call that the company would release the latest in its artificial intelligence technology to the public “very soon.” Google obviously isn’t wasting any time and launched a test version of its own A.I.-powered chatbot on Monday as competition mounts after OpenAI’s immensely popular large language model ChatGPT took the internet by storm in November.
ChatGPT’s launch reportedly triggered a “code red” at Google as its long-standing search engine dominance came under threat, and the tech giant had to move fast to keep up with the app’s creator, OpenAI, a San Francisco–based startup that received a $10 billion investment from Microsoft in January.
Pichai revealed how Google is responding to the disruptive threat in a blog post on Monday, announcing the test launch of an “experimental conversational A.I. service” dubbed Bard, powered by LaMDA, Google’s advanced language model that sparked debate and controversy last year when an engineer referred to it as “sentient.”
“It’s a really exciting time to be working on these technologies as we translate deep research and breakthroughs into products that truly help people,” Pichai wrote. “Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models.”
Bard will initially be released to a select group of “trusted testers,” according to Pichai. But Google plans on releasing the service to the public “in the coming weeks.”
Like ChatGPT, Bard will be able to draw on its vast troves of stored knowledge to generate conversations and detailed responses to a wide range of questions, Pichai wrote, including which recipes can used with the remaining ingredients in your fridge or how to explain the interstellar findings of the James Webb Space Telescope to a child.
Along with the London-based company DeepMind, acquired in 2014, large language models like LaMDA and their integration with search engines through Bard form the foundation of Google’s growing commitment to A.I., which Pichai called “the most profound technology we are working on today.”
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