Just under a month ago, Google surprised many people in the tech industry when it announced its new chatbot AI program, Bard. At that time, Google said Bard was designed to “combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models.”
However, when the online demo of Bard offered incorrect information on the James Webb Space Telescope, many felt that Google was trying to rush out a product in order to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT service. That opinion was even shared by many Google employees. Now a new CNBC story claims the leader of the team developing Bard is trying to pivot away from the chatbot as a replacement for Google Search.
The story reports that Google held an all-hands meeting earlier this week. It included an appearance from Jack Krawczyk, who heads up the Bard development team. He answered questions from Google’s internal forum. One of them centered on Bard, saying, “Why do we think the big first application should be Search, which at its heart is about finding true information?”
Krawczyk reportedly answered by saying. “I just want to be very clear: Bard is not search.” He said that Bard is supposed to be used as a “creative companion”. However, he did admit that Google could not stop users from accessing Bard as a search program.
While the team is working to improve answers when Bard is used to find information, he added, “But as you want to get into more of the search-oriented journeys, we already have a product for that — it’s called search.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai was also reportedly at the all-hands meeting, according to CNBC. He responded to a question from its forum with the unnamed employee saying it felt that Bard was “a knee-jerk reaction without a strategy.”Pichai apparently felt differently.
“I disagree with the premise of this question” he said, letting out a laugh. “We are deeply working on AI for a long time. You are right in the sense that, we have to stay focused on users and make sure we are building things which are impactful.” He said, “user input is going to be an important part of the process so it’s important to get it right.”
Unlike Microsoft, which is inviting outside users to test its new Bing Chat, Google is still testing Bard internally with its employees. At this week’s meeting, Pichai reportedly stated that more details about Bard’s public launch will come after this year’s Google I/O, the company’s annual developers conference. So far, no dates for that event have been announced.
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