Google embarrasses self trying to show their AI can compete against ChatGPT

Leonard Sengere Avatar
Google, About this result

I keep hearing that Microsoft Edge is now a decent browser. I was not really interested in testing that until now. Sometimes I use Safari and Samsung Internet but most times I rely on my trusty Chrome, especially on desktop.

I am in the majority, Chrome has 65.4% of the browser market share. Safari comes in second with 18.7%, Edge has 4.5%, Firefox 3%, Samsung Internet 2.6% and Opera 2.4%.

What exactly is it about Chrome? It can’t be Google search because you can set that as the default search engine for pretty much every browser. Google search has a 93% market share as a result.

Edge tries to make the process of defaulting to Google search convoluted, and keeps the Bing search bar on the New Tab screen, smack dab in the middle of the screen.

Where this Bing business used to be a disadvantage, Microsoft is looking to change that with ChatGPT. We talked about ChatGPT here. Go read that first if you aren’t familiar with the generative AI.

Microsoft announced a new version of Bing that is powered by the same AI tech that powers ChatGPT. This will make Bing conversational where you will be able to chat with Bing like you can with ChatGPT and receive answers in natural language.

This is a big deal. Google Assistant and Siri can give you an idea of what that’s like. Instead of getting links to websites, you get the answer in natural language. When you ask a question it tries to answer it, not just present a list of links.

This new version of Bing will be paired with the new AI-enhanced Edge browser and Google is quaking in its boots at the thought.

Google’s response

Google announced Bard, their own AI-powered chatbot to rival ChatGPT.

Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics

Google has been in the AI business for a while and have a language model you may already be familiar with – LaMDA. Last year, we talked about a Google engineer who was fired because he believed the AI had come alive (become sentient.)

So good are LaMDA’s answers that even Google engineers can be fooled into thinking the AI is somehow alive and self-aware. This LaMDA is what Bard, their chatbot, is built on.

So, naturally, armed with what is most likely the most powerful language model in the world, Google couldn’t sit by and let ChatGPT get all the headlines. However, in a rush to show that Bard is capable too, Google ended up embarrassing themselves.

Bard with the fumble

Google posted a GIF demonstrating how Bard will work. Bard was asked for recent news about the James Webb Space Telescope in language suitable for a nine-year-old. The language Bard used was indeed child-friendly and it spat out a lot of fun facts and news.

The only problem was that Bard gave out one incorrect fact. It claimed the James Webb telescope was the first to take pictures of exoplanets. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope was the first to take pictures of exoplanets, not James Webb. Reuters were quick to point that out. Oh, the embarrassment.

This exact thing is what the ChatGPT guys warned us about, these chatbots can give you false information with all the confidence in the world. Therefore the telescope situation above doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, we know the limitations of conversational AI currently.

Unfortunately for Google, investors thought it was a big deal. That simple GIF wiped US$100 billion off Google’s (Alphabet’s) market value.

The GIF was part of Bard’s promotional material and no one bothered to check whether the answers it spewed out were correct. Google engineers were probably too confident in LaMDA. It reeks of desperation and a rush to respond to ChatGPT or arrogance. Maybe that’s why investors read a lot into the GIF fumble.

It is by no means the end for Bard. The AI wars are only just beginning and Bard could yet win the war. ChatGPT is in the lead and has all the hype but that is no guarantee of success.

What Bard has going for it

What Bard has going for it in my opinion is that it is a Google product. This means when it is infused into a search engine it will be into Google search, the dominant search engine. I can see myself choosing Google with Bard over Bing with ChatGPT.

Where ChatGPT will have to contend with the Edge browser, Bard will have the dominant Chrome to work with. ChatGPT can be accessed via Chrome but it will not be built in like Bard will be.

That’s all on paper though, the battle is raging on as we speak and we shall see who will be standing when all is said and done. Do remember there are other players in the field:

My question to you though is, are you even interested in natural language answers or do you prefer to get links to the most useful websites and pick it up from there? Do you use Google Assistant or Siri on your phone as I do? Do let us know in the comments section below.

Also read:

OpenAI claims the AI, ChatGPT, is meant to benefit all humanity but it is unavailable in 45 countries

Has artificial intelligence (AI) come alive like in sci-fi movies? This Google engineer thinks so

18 comments

What’s your take?

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  1. Anonymous

    As someone who uses ChatGPT everyday I can tell you it does give false, misleading and inaccurate answers all the time. Those investors are idiots who don’t understand AI. AI is not infallible. There is a reason why ChatGPT answers are not allowed on Stackoverflow. They come with annoying bugs, but it saves time on silly routine coding and writing tasks.

    1. Logic Plague

      Exactly. If anything, this shows parity with ChatGPT

      1. Sadza raNezuro

        I agree with you 😄

    2. Leonard Sengere

      I agree with this. Those investors do not seem to understand the limitations of these AIs. They probably think ChatGPT would not have made the mistake that Bard made.
      On the other hand, it is inexcusable that Google failed to fact check their own AI’s answers for something that was going to be used in promotional material. In the real world, people accept mistakes but if you are cherry picking a test scenario (as you should) and it has mistakes, questions can arise as to just how good your product really is. Or if you are overconfident in your product as not to take it seriously, thinking its already in the bag.

      1. Logic Plague

        Bing did well to prerecord the demo section of their presentation.

  2. Ankoro Utapa

    How do I access ChatGPT from Zim?All the time I try I am told it’s not available in my region.What can I do?

    1. Isaac
      1. Anonymous

        Is this safe

      2. TECHTONOLOGY

        Watch step by step to setup Chat GPT in Zimbabwe and other countries where it is unaccessible Subscribe like and share the video and also follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/MKadzibonde/status/1612646402894471169?s=19

    2. Leonard Sengere
      1. TECHTONOLOGY

        Watch step by step to setup Chat GPT in Zimbabwe and other countries where it is unaccessible Subscribe like and share the video and also follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/MKadzibonde/status/1612646402894471169?s=19

    3. TECHTONOLOGY

      Watch step by step to setup Chat GPT in Zimbabwe and other countries where it is unaccessible Subscribe like and share the video and also follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/MKadzibonde/status/1612646402894471169?s=19

    4. Stephen Eagle

      find someone from abroad in a country that has access to OpenAI services inorder get confirmation for signup after. You also need to have a VPN service enable like Psiphon, you can get it from playstore its free

  3. Sadza raNezuro

    I hear Edge is exceptionally good (performance wise) when compared to Chrome so it’s the one I use on my machine. I neither use Bing nor Google, I find Duck Duck Go WAY BETTER. Besides that, it’s all just http://localhost/ 😄

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I’m goint to have to try out DuckDuckGo again because I tried it out way back when and it wasn’t good yet.

      1. Isaac

        It certainly’s better than Google here n there

  4. Byron

    So a simple GIf wiped off 100b, yoo so huge. But I think they should release another sample since the first is always not good. It may go sideways. On my PC I do use edge l, comparing with Google, Google has some advantages over bing hence at times if I search something using Google and results becomes not favourable, I then switch to Bing.

    1. Taf

      Microsoft 1 Google 0