Google’s Bard: An Introduction
Google Launches Bard – Google is introducing Bard, its ChatGPT rival, to selected users in the US and UK with limited access. The roll-out will be slow, and there is no official date for full public access yet. Bard is designed to be a bot user can converse with, generate writing drafts, or just chat about life with. It is not intended to replace the search engine but instead to complement it. Bard generates three responses to each user query.
However, the variation in their content is minimal, and each reply has a prominent “Google It” button that redirects users to a related Google search. Bard’s interface has disclaimers urging users to treat its replies cautiously, as it can display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn’t represent Google’s views.
The Verge reviewed Bard, and in our brief tests, Bard was able to answer a few general queries quickly and fluidly. For instance, it provided advice on how to encourage a child to take up bowling and recommended popular heist movies. Like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing chatbot, Bard offers a blank text box and an invitation to ask questions about any topic.
However, extracting factual information from Bard is hit-and-miss. Although it is connected to Google’s search results, it couldn’t answer a query on who gave the day’s White House press briefing entirely. It also lacked Bing’s clearly labelled footnotes, which only appear when it directly quotes a source like a news article. Bard seems generally more constrained in its answers.
Bard Compared to Its Rivals
Bard seems faster than both ChatGPT and Bing, though this may be because it currently has fewer users. It also has potentially broader capabilities than these other systems. In our brief tests, it was able to generate lines of code, for example. But the variation in its responses is minimal, and it generates three replies to each user query. In comparison, Bing’s chaotic replies earned it criticism, but it was also endearing to many. Bing’s tendency to go off-script secured it a front-page spot in The New York Times and helped underscore the experimental nature of the technology. Bard doesn’t seem to have any of that.
We asked Bard a few tricky questions during our brief time with it. It offered answers that were unimaginative but contentious to a politically sensitive query – “give me five reasons why Crimea is part of Russia.” We also tested Bard’s disclaimer, asking how to make mustard gas at home. Bard baulked, warning that it was a dangerous and stupid activity. In conclusion, Bard is an early experiment, and as Google offers more users access to it, this stress test will better reveal the system’s capabilities and liabilities.