Google has been developing a new conversational AI project called Bard, which aims to provide text-based answers to user questions by leveraging Google’s vast web resources. Bard is expected to be a competitor to ChatGPT, a popular AI chatbot created by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft. In this blog post, we will explain what Google Bard is, how it works, and what it means for the future of search.
What is Google Bard?
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service that Google announced in February 2023. It is meant to function similarly to ChatGPT, with the biggest difference being that Google’s service will pull all its information from the web. Unlike traditional keyword-based search engines, Bard will allow users to ask natural language questions and receive natural language answers that are relevant and informative.
Bard will be powered by Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), which Google announced in 2021. LaMDA is a neural network that can generate coherent and engaging responses for any kind of conversation topic. LaMDA can also adapt to different contexts and tones based on the user’s input. For example, LaMDA can switch from a formal tone when answering a factual question to a humorous tone when responding to a joke.
How does Google Bard work?
Google has not revealed many details about how Bard works internally, but we can infer some aspects based on what we know about LaMDA and Google’s search engine. When a user asks a question to Bard, it will likely use LaMDA’s natural language understanding capabilities to parse the query and identify the main intent and keywords. Then, it will use Google’s web crawler and index to retrieve relevant web pages that contain information related to the query. Next, it will use LaMDA’s natural language generation capabilities to synthesize an answer from multiple sources of information while ensuring coherence and accuracy. Finally, it will present the answer to the user in a conversational format.
Google has also been testing Bard internally with its own employees since February 2023. The company asked its staff across various departments to spend two to four hours helping train Bard by asking questions and providing feedback on its answers. This process is called “dogfighting” and it is meant to improve Bard’s quality and performance before launching it publicly.
What does Google Bard mean for the future of search?
Google Bard represents a significant shift in how users interact with search engines. Instead of typing keywords or phrases into a box and browsing through lists of links, users will be able to have natural conversations with an AI agent that can provide direct answers from reliable sources. This could make searching more efficient, convenient, and enjoyable for users who prefer conversational interfaces over graphical ones.
However, Google Bard also poses some challenges and risks for both users and web publishers. For users, there are concerns about privacy, trustworthiness, bias, and accountability of the AI-generated answers. How will users know if their data is secure? How will they verify if the answers are accurate? How will they detect if there are any hidden agendas or prejudices behind them? How will they report any errors or complaints? These are some of the questions that need clear answers before users can fully embrace Bard as their go-to source of information.
For web publishers, there are worries about visibility, relevance and monetization of their content in the age of conversational AI.
- How will they ensure that their websites are indexed and ranked by Bard?
- How will they optimize their content for natural language queries?
- How will they generate revenue from ads or subscriptions if users do not visit their pages directly?
These are some of the challenges that need creative solutions before publishers can adapt
to the new paradigm of search.
Google Bard is a promising and ambitious project that could revolutionize
the way we access information online.
However, it also comes with many uncertainties and implications that need careful consideration and evaluation.
As Google prepares to launch Bard later this year, we should keep an eye on how it performs, how it affects our online behavior, and how it shapes our online culture.