What is Google Bard + How to Use It: All You Need to Know

AI chatbots are incredibly powerful when it comes to instantly displaying answers to human questions. One of the latest developments in the industry is Google Bard. It was introduced in early 2023 and was reported to be publicly accessible in the coming weeks and months.

In this article, we’ll be exploring what’s currently known about Google Bard, the mistake that received plenty of criticism during its pilot announcement, and how it compares to OpenAI’s ChatGPT (based on its paper description).

Google’s Latest AI Chatbot: Bard

Revealed in a post in February 2023, Google Bard is the latest chatbot that’s entering the AI game. It’s highly similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which has been gaining traction in recent months for its generative content capabilities.

Designed to interact with users in a human-like tone while providing AI-powered support, Google Bard utilizes LaMDA technology (formally called Language Model for Dialogue Applications) for its functions, which was developed in-house. Bard runs on Google Transformer, a technology that served as a basis for other AI tools’ various language models, like ChatGPT.

What Is LaMDA?

Google officially made its Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) known to the world back in 2021. Basically, its purpose was to understand prompts written in a natural way, providing context to certain requests and questions. It has further adapted to make predictions (like the next words in a sentence) and suggestions that are based on patterns and relationships in language.

How to use Google Bard—LaMDA example


After turning the prompt into an easier-to-understand version, Bard bot refers to the web to summarize and come up with an answer. The same language model would help make this summary sound more natural too in Google AI conversations.

It’s also worth mentioning that, in terms of computing power, Google LaMDA is known for its lower requirements (which is also the primary reason Google used it for Bard). This allows for better scalability, helping Google deliver its product to more users.

Google Says Bard Isn’t Search

A common misconception about Google Bard is that it will be used as part of Search. The confusion isn’t surprising, given that Google announced its AI updates for Search at the same time they introduced this AI chatbot.

Even internal beta testers of Google are confused. However, as Bard’s product lead Jack Krawczyk clarified, “…Bard is not Search.” Reportedly, he also added that a “Search It” feature has been developed to cater to people who can’t help but use the chatbot for searching.

Krawczyk also emphasizes the difference between the two in terms of working principles: An AI chatbot like Bard is a large language model (LLM), which is entirely distinct from a knowledge model like Search. Put simply, the first works to make information easier to understand by making it human-sounding while the latter focuses on giving accurate and factual answers.

How to Use Google Bard

At the start of 2023, only a few beta testers can access Bard. But if you’re one of those lucky people selected by Google, all you need to do is go to the Google app, press the chatbot icon, and start asking your questions and providing prompts.

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, confirmed that Bard will be going public and will be made more accessible to the masses in the near future. Considering the applause that ChatGPT received at the start of the year, it’s highly probable that Google Bard will be released early to match its pace.

Google Bard Isn’t Always Right

As with many other AI chatbots that have recently emerged, Google Bard made a mistake in one of its answers. The Google chatbot tried to answer the question, “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old about?”

Google Bard provided a three-item list of answers and one was factually incorrect. It stated that the “JWST took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system.” And while the constructed sentence was stated with confidence, the first exoplanet was imaged in 2004 by the European Southern Observatory — and clearly wrong.

Other AI Chatbots Also Make Mistakes, Right?

While other AI chatbots provide similarly incorrect statements, it’s a bigger deal that this mistake happened during the official announcement of Bard — and Google is one of the best tech companies out there.

This wrong answer managed to bring down Google’s stock by almost 9%. The problem also highlighted the comparison between this Google AI chatbot and ChatGPT, which was one of the hottest tools at the time.

Such a flub really calls attention to one of the major downsides of AI chatbots: They can produce professional-looking albeit made-up stuff. To the untrained masses, these wrong “truths” can undoubtedly boost the spread of misinformation.

How Did Google Respond?

While Google said that Bard is to be released in the coming weeks, it’s also doing corrective measures to fix the chatbot’s wrong answers. Google has tasked its employees to rewrite the product’s incorrect responses. Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president at Google, also mentioned giving accolades (like the “Moma badge”) to employees who contribute to this move.

Google Bard vs. ChatGPT: What’s the Difference?

ChatGPT was already popular by the time Google Bard was announced, calling for comparisons between the two. To be honest, their working principles are almost the same: A user enters a prompt or question then the chatbots process it, create an answer, and display the results in a human-sounding way.

The difference lies in their sources. ChatGPT can only reference data from no later than 2021, which apparently limits its capabilities as time goes by (at least for now). Google Bard might excel at reportedly sourcing its results from the web, which would translate to current information.

Note: Microsoft is also using ChatGPT in its search engine, Bing. Google separates Bard and Search into individual products, as mentioned earlier.

Of course, these two AI chatbots also differ in their language models: Bard runs on LaMDA, whereas ChatGPT uses Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT). It’s also worth mentioning that the latter also offers plagiarism detection, which might or might not be absent from Bard’s capabilities (this will be known once it’s released).

In terms of pricing and availability, ChatGPT offers its basic services for free. There’s also ChatGPT Plus, a premium version of the former, which gives priority access to a user even when its servers are being used at full capacity. Since Bard is currently only accessible for free by beta testers, potential pricing is not determined yet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Access Google Bard?

If you are a beta tester that’s chosen to try Google Bard before its official widespread rollout, you can access it via the Google app. Simply go to the application, toggle the chatbot icon, and use it for your queries.

Can I Use Google Bard?

Google Bard is currently inaccessible to the public, with the exception of selected international beta testers all over the world. However, Google does have plans to make its AI chatbot available to the masses soon.

Final Thoughts

The AI race is hot nowadays, especially with the launch of Google Bard. It’s a large language model that’s highly similar to ChatGPT, but it might be capable of doing something that the latter can’t do at the moment: giving up-to-date information. Google says it will roll out Bard soon, and new opportunities with AI chatbots are bound to come.

If you’re interested in breaking into the AI movement, don’t miss out on this machine learning specialization course. From ML best practices to building and training a neural network, this is the perfect time to build your skills.


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Emma Collins is a tech writer for Productivity Spot. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including Hackr.io, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, Switching To Mac, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.

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