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Google Is Testing Strategic Response To ChatGPT Hype And Microsoft Partnership: What Is Apprentice Bard?

Google Is Testing Strategic Response To ChatGPT Hype And Microsoft Partnership: What Is Apprentice Bard?

Google ChatGPT

Chatbot image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/users/mohamed_hassan-5229782/ Google composite image: Pixabay

Google employees are testing a chatbot called “Apprentice Bard,” which receives questions, provides detailed answers and could be a potential competitor for ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-powered language chat product that became a viral sensation when it launched in late 2022.

This and other efforts to test new products that respond to ChatGPT are considered “code red” or emergency-level by Google parent Alphabet, CNBC reported.

NBC reports that it saw internal documents and spoke with sources about the efforts underway.

The Google product tests come after a recent all-hands meeting where employees questioned the company’s competitiveness in AI after the sudden popularity of ChatGPT, which was launched by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based startup backed by Microsoft

Google has long promoted itself as a pioneer in AI, but its head of AI, Jeff Dean, told employees the company can’t risk providing wrong information so it’s moving “more conservatively than a small startup.” He and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Google may launch similar products sometime in 2023.

Many in the industry believe the new ChatGPT internet search engine and web browser launched by OpenAI in partnership with Microsoft could be a key to the future of internet search.

ChatGPT gained 1 million users in five days after launch. As long as you don’t need to know where the bot gets its information, or whether it’s sending you fact or fiction, ChatGPT can explain complex topics, show you how to solve math problems, write a customized resume, and cover letter and create original jokes, among other things.


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At a bad time for tech industry layoffs — tech workers lost more than 150,000 jobs in 2022 and 100,000 so far in 2023 — ChatGPT provided a jolt of excitement.

Microsoft invested $13 billion in the OpenAI startup and supplied billions of dollars in computing power needed to build its AI technology.

Apprentice Bard, by comparison, uses Google’s conversation technology LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) and it looks similar to ChatGPT, accepting questions in a dialog box and responding with a text answer. Its answers can also include recent events, a feature ChatGPT doesn’t have yet, according to several responses viewed by CNBC.

Apprentice Bard replaced Meena, a previous version of a smart chatbot that was launched internally but later discontinued.

Microsoft missed out on the shift to mobile computing that came with the iPhone, Cade Metz and Karen Weise wrote for the New York Times. Its Bing search engine is a distant second (3.19 percent market share) to Google’s 91.88 percent market share, so it doesn’t have a lot to lose. But Microsoft could be the first mover in tech’s next big thing if the chatbots and the technology behind them (generative AI) live up to the hype.

“This technology will reshape pretty much every software category that we know,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Google announced that it would soon offer Apprentice Bard and start adding chatbot technology into its own search engine.