The official Live from Paris Google event just aired yesterday and several interesting things were discussed. First, the company is getting deeper into generative AI and will soon allow users to use a combination of text, voice, and image search with Lens to stack search modifiers for more meaningful results.
One example that was given during the live stream of how Google is hoping to further inject artificial intelligence into the future of Search looks a lot like another AI competitor called Midjourney and how it lets you imagine something highly specific from scratch by way of nothing but text input. By snapping a photo of your kitchen cabinets with Lens or by utilizing a web image, you could append a text or voice request on top of that like “what would these cabinets look like if they were green?” In time, I’m sure you could also ask Google to imagine those same cabinets in a different style, and so on, but only time will tell how complex multi-search could become.
The most interesting announcement is exactly what I guessed it would be. Google officially revealed its ChatGPT competitor and guess what – it’s baked right into Search just as we expected. Bing recently beat Google to the punch by announcing ChatGPT integration with Bing, allowing you to get life-like answers to questions instead of just a list of returned blue links.
The Google-branded AI – dubbed internally as “Apprentice Bard”, looks and acts like Google Assistant on steroids. In fact, I would not be surprised in the slightest if the company simply took its LaMDA improvements via this new chatbot and marketed it as an Assistant upgrade. What they had better not do is call it “Google Chat”, because I swear I will throw my hands in the air and be done.
While not yet available, Google is testing Bard with a handful of “Trusted Testers” and hopes to provide a wider release before too long. It’s also really hammering the “Responsible AI” angle to assure people that it’s taking its time releasing something so incredibly powerful and potentially dangerous to the public. AI and in particular ChatGPT, GPT-3, and similar products have been deemed controversial in the public eye since they rose up for many reasons, none of which I’ll go on about here because that deserves to be a discussion of its own. If you’re interested in learning more, there are a great many videos online about the concerns experts and regular users alike have brought up regarding the simultaneously scary and exciting future we’re facing.
I wouldn’t be too terribly worried at this time though, at least about Google and its AI chatbot solution. In a Reuters report yesterday post-Paris live stream, it was discovered that Bard made a pretty glaring factual error in one of its promotional test searches. In the search, Bard was asked “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can I tell my 9-year-old about?”
Instead of attributing the first pictures ever taken of exoplanets to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2004, it gave credit to the JWST instead, which was wrong, of course. In response to some eagle-eyed users calling this out, a Google spokesperson had the following to say:
“This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program,”
“We’ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information.”Google spokesperson on the Bard error
Given this and how the company went on red alert recently due to the rumored looming threat of ChatGPT potentially being capable of overthrowing Google’s Search business model entirely within a few years, on top of Bing’s rush to market integration with ChatGPT itself, it’s obvious to me that Google has rushed its work on Bard. In fact, some reports state that many other Google projects have been paused or pushed back in order to pull people and resources to build out its vision for the future of AI chatbots.
For what it’s worth, I don’t see Bing’s decision to jump the gun and beat Google to this idea as a threat. Bing will always play second fiddle to Google in Search in my opinion, and I stand fast on that. I do, however, think ChatGPT has set something incredibly important into motion that has already determined that the tech industry will never again be the same. Let me know what you think in the comments about all of this and whether you’re interested in trying out Apprentice Bard once it’s integrated into Google Search.