Google Bard: How ChatGPT rival will change the way we search online

The conversational chatbot 'draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses', according to a blog post by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

Photo: Google
Photo: Google

Sahim Salim

Published: Tue 7 Feb 2023, 12:25 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Feb 2023, 1:57 PM

Google has unveiled its response to ChatGPT — the language app that mimics human writing — and it is expected to redefine the way we search for information online.

Called Bard, the conversational chatbot “draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses”, according to a blog post by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

Calling it an “experimental conversational AI (artificial intelligence) service”, Pichai said Bard will be opened to “trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.”

Dubai-based ex-Google employee Aaron Illathu said Bard is part of the technology giant’s efforts to advance the field of natural language processing. The aim is to have responses “as if you were talking to another person or friend.”

The chatbot is unique compared to other language models, such as ChatGPT, because it has been “specifically optimised for tasks that require a high degree of creativity and originality, such as storytelling and poetry generation.”

Illathu, who works at Atteline and manages the corporate team that focuses on technology clients, highlighted how Bard will change the way we search.

“I can see it changing the way we search, especially in questions/queries that do not have a clear answer, such as 'who is the GOAT (greatest of all time) in basketball - Michael Jordan or Lebron James' or 'which instrument is easier to learn - piano or guitar', or even 'which job industry gives me the most opportunities in 10 years’. We will eventually get more comprehensive responses to questions such as published stats and figures, integrated links that support each side of the response, professional opinions … and more,” he said.

He added that search will become easier and faster. “Bard would … generate a comprehensive answer based on its understanding of the web and provide us with a detailed and accurate response (like a more advanced Siri).”

Improving search

In his blog, Pichai referred to Google’s long history of using AI to improve searches for billions of people.

“When people think of Google, they often think of turning to us for quick factual answers, like ‘how many keys does a piano have?’ But increasingly, people are turning to Google for deeper insights and understanding — like, ‘is the piano or guitar easier to learn, and how much practice does each need?’”

AI can “synthesise” insights for questions where there’s no one right answer. “Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in search that distil complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web: whether that’s seeking out additional perspectives, like blogs from people who play both piano and guitar, or going deeper on a related topic, like steps to get started as a beginner.”

These new AI features will begin rolling out on Google Search soon, Pichai added.

AI-powered algorithm

Google's algorithm for natural language processing and AI is likely to change in several ways, according to Illathu. “For example, Bard's focus on creative writing tasks may lead to improvements in the quality and coherence of the text generated by AI systems, as well as a better understanding of the nuances and complexities of human language. The search results that come back from a Google search would be more structured with not just answers, but integrated links to YouTube videos and suggestions to top facilities and professionals in the area for the specific question and (other related ones).”

ChatGPT has taken the Internet by storm, with an estimated 100 million users in just two months of its launch. Fascinated by its human-like responses, Netizens have been using it for articles, poems and even jokes. However, Bard has a much bigger platform: Google and its billion daily users.

“Its impact on the average consumer is likely to be significant and far-reaching,” said Illathu. “Overall, the ability of Bard to understand and analyse large amounts of information and provide relevant and concise responses has the potential to greatly improve the way we search for and access information.”


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