With Microsoft investing heavily in ChatGPT creators OpenAI are integrating the company’s advanced AI tools throughout its product portfolio, Google is now taking the wraps off of its own conversational AI service that the company calls Bard.
In a blog post, Google and parent company Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai says Bard is powered by Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications, or LaMDA for short. Now, the company is making it more widely available, first as a lightweight model version of LaMDA that requires “significantly less computing power” and enables Google to scale to more users and solicit more feedback.
The company’s announcement is underpinned by several mentions of safety and responsibility, with Pichai touting Google’s set of AI Principles published in 2018.
What is Bard and when will it be available?
According to Pichai, Bard combines “the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models,” drawing on information from the web to provide responses.
“Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills,” Pichai says writes in the blog.
Google is making Bard available to “trusted testers,” first and then they will make the AI more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.
External feedback will be combined with Google’s own internal testing to improve Bard and ensure quality and safety in real-world information, the Google CEO says.
“We’re excited for this phase of testing to help us continue to learn and improve Bard’s quality and speed,” Pichai writes.
The company’s chief executive details the company’s history of using AI to improve Google Search, including BERT, one of the company’s first Transformer models, and then MUM, which is 1,000 times more powerful than BERT.
“Now, our newest AI technologies — like LaMDA, PaLM, Imagen and MusicLM — are building on this, creating entirely new ways to engage with information, from language and images to video and audio,” Pichai says.
Google will now begin bringing these AI advancements to the users of its products, beginning with Search, Pichai writes.
What is coming to Search?
According to Pichai, Google Search users are increasingly searching for deeper insights and understanding rather than simple questions, but comprehensive learning about a complicated topic takes a lot of effort. AI can help synthesize and distill a breadth of information into easily digestible formats to help users grasp concepts more easily.
Soon, AI-powered features will be coming to Search to do just that, and help provide deeper understandings and additional perspectives when searching for information.
Starting next month, Google will start onboarding individual developers, creators and enterprises to try out the company’s Generative Language API, initially powered by LaMDA, with a range of models to follow.
The company plans to create a suite of tools and APIs designed to make it easy for others to build more innovative applications with AI. Google will also leverage its Google Cloud partnerships with Cohere, C3.ai and Anthropic to help scale these efforts and ensure enough compute power to build AI systems.
Why this matters
Several news reports on the internal discussions at Google since ChatGPT burst onto the scene–and since Microsoft’s reported $10 billion investment in parent company OpenAI–have suggested that Google is now intensely focused on building and touting its own AI models.
The company is planning to enhance Search with new AI features, which appears to be a direct response to rumors that Microsoft is planning to bring OpenAI’s technology to its own search engine, Bing.
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