How to Sign Up for Google Bard Generative AI Chatbot
Google has opened sign-ups for the Google bard generative AI chatbot a little over a month after a factual error somewhat marred its first preview. The sign-up is technically for a waitlist, but Google promises to expand access, though only in the U.S. and UK and only in English right now. Also, sign-ups are only for personal accounts; Google Workspace subscribers cannot sign up for Bard.
As Google highlighted in its initial introduction, Bard is designed as a tool for coming up with ideas, drafting texts, and learning new information. The chatbot mirrors many of the features of the new Bing Chat AI and other generative AI chatbots. Bard will offer three drafts in response to every query and pulls current information from the web to answer questions. It only inconsistently cites its sources, however. That can be a problem as the AI even admitted to Tom’s Hardware that it had plagiarized one of its articles. Google has emphasized that bard is still under development and that the chatbot is not a replacement for its standard search engine.
“We’ve learned a lot so far by testing Bard, and the next critical step in improving it is to get feedback from more people,” Google vice president of product Sissie Hsiao and vice president of research Eli Collins explained in a blog post. Bard is a direct interface to an LLM, and we think of it as a complementary experience to Google Search. Bard is designed so that you can easily visit Search to check its responses or explore sources across the web. Click “Google it” to see suggestions for queries, and Search will open in a new tab so you can find relevant results and dig deeper. We’ll also be thoughtfully integrating LLMs into Search in a deeper way — more to come.”
Google powers Bard with its LaMDA large language model, specifically a “lightweight and optimized version” likely necessary for real-time conversation. The company has plans to upgrade the included model over time and made a point of emphasizing that it’s still imperfect and can get information wrong. The announcement didn’t mention the specific error, where the video Google showed had Bard mistakenly claiming that the James Webb Space Telescope took the first pictures of an exosolar planet. The ongoing errors suggest Google’s request to employees that they manually update Bard when they spot an incorrect response hasn’t ironed out all the issues. Even encouraging them to spend two to four hours a week testing the AI apparently hasn’t been enough yet.
“Although it’s important to be aware of challenges like these, there are still incredible benefits to LLMs, like jumpstarting human productivity, creativity and curiosity,” Hsiao and Collins wrote. “We’ll continue to improve Bard and add capabilities, including coding, more languages and multimodal experiences. And one thing is certain: We’ll learn alongside you as we go. With your feedback, Bard will keep getting better and better.”