Google Inc. is testing new artificial intelligence (AI) chat products, including a new chatbot and a way to potentially integrate it into its search engine. These products could influence Google’s future public product launches.
Google is working on a project called “Atlas” under its cloud computing division in response to the threat posed by the popular bot ChatGPT. Google is also testing a chatbot called “Apprentice Bard. Employees can ask it questions and get detailed answers similar to ChatGPT’s. In recent weeks, Google management has been asking more employees for feedback on the effort.
“Apprentice Bard uses Google’s conversational technology, LaMDA, the Language Model for Conversational Applications. It looks similar to ChatGPT: employees can type a question into a dialog box, get a text answer, and then give feedback on the response. According to some of the responses seen by the press, “Apprentice Bud” answers may include recent events, a feature that ChatGPT doesn’t yet have.
Google is clearly feeling the pressure of ChatGPT and has asked the team to prioritize the development of its own chatbot. “Due to the explosion in popularity of ChatGPT, the LaMDA team was asked to prioritize working on the response to ChatGPT,” a memo shows, “and in the short term, prioritize it over other projects.” The memo also warned some employees to stop attending certain unrelated meetings.
Another Google product unit is also testing a new search desktop design that can be used in a question-and-answer format. One view shows the main Google search page offering five different prompts for potential questions, placed directly below the main search bar, replacing the current “I’m feeling lucky” column. It also displays a small chat logo at the far right of the search bar. When a question is entered, the search results display a gray bubble directly below the search bar, providing a more human-like answer than the usual search results. Directly below this, the page suggests several follow-up questions related to the first question, and below this are the common search results, including links and titles.