Google began public testing of its own artificial intelligence chatbot, Bard, among users in the United Kingdom and the United States.
“As more and more people start using Bard and testing features, they will surprise us and definitely get it wrong,” company CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to all employees that day. “But user feedback is critical to improving the product and the underlying technology.”
On Tuesday morning Google opened a beta version of Bard based on the large language model LaMDA, which can provide answers to a variety of questions. Shares of Google parent company Alphabet rose nearly 4 percent in midday trading in response to the news.
But Google warned that Bard could make mistakes or “give inaccurate or inappropriate responses.
In recent months, Google has wanted to keep up with the fast pace in artificial intelligence with the release of Bard as artificial intelligence technologies such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI and ChatGPT have grown at a rapid pace.
When Google first announced the launch of Bard this year, many employees and investors thought the company was rushing things a bit in response to Microsoft’s move to integrate ChatGPT. At a recent all-employee meeting at the company, the top concerns of employees included the purpose of the Bard launch, which some were confused about. Google executives at the meeting argued that Bard was just an experiment to differentiate the AI chatbot from its core search product.
Last month, Sundar Pichai issued a call to all Google employees to get involved in testing the Bard project, asking them to rewrite the wrong answers generated by the chatbot. On Tuesday, Sundar Pichai said in an email that more than 80,000 Google employees were involved in testing Bard.
Sundar Pichai also said in Tuesday’s email that the company was responsible for testing Bard, inviting 10,000 credible testers “from different fields with different perspectives” to participate in the Bard project.
Sundar Pichai said Google employees “should be proud of this work and of the technology breakthroughs that have led us to this point over the years, including our Transformer research in 2017 and foundational models like PalM and BERT.” He added, “Even with these advances, we are still in the early stages of a long AI journey.”
Sundar Pichai said, “Now I’m excited to see how Bard inspires user creativity and curiosity.” He added that he looks forward to sharing “a range of advances in AI” at Google’s annual developer conference in May.
The full text of the memo sent by Sundar Pichai reads.
Last week was a big week for AI, as we made a series of announcements about introducing AI in Google Cloud, Developer, our developer platform, and Workspace, our collaboration tool. There’s more to come this week as we begin to gradually open up access to Bard, which was first announced in February.
Starting today, users in the US and UK can sign up at bard.google.com. This is just the first step, and we’ll continue to open up Bard to more countries and regions as time goes on.
I’m grateful to the Bard team. They’ve probably spent more time on Bard than anyone else in the last few weeks; and a big thanks to the 80,000 Google employees who helped help test Bard – we should be proud of this work and of the technology breakthroughs that have led us to this point over the years, including our Transformer research in 2017 and the PalM and BERT and other underlying models.
Even with these advances, we are still in the early stages of a long AI journey. As more and more people start using Bard and testing features, they will surprise us and definitely get it wrong. But user feedback is critical to improving the product and the underlying technology.
We’ve taken a responsible approach to development, inviting 10,000 trusted testers from a variety of fields and with different perspectives. We still welcome all kinds of feedback, and we will learn from it as we iterate to improve.
For now, I’m excited to see how Bard inspires user creativity and curiosity. I look forward to sharing the range of progress being made in AI to help people, businesses and communities at our developer conference this May.”