Google Plans to Add Conversational AI to Search Within Weeks

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Google will soon roll out an experimental conversational artificial intelligence (AI) service called Bard.

The service was opened up to trusted testers Monday (Feb. 6) and is to be made more widely available to the public within weeks, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a Monday blog post.

“Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models,” Pichai said in the post. “It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.”

The service will be released in a “lightweight” model that requires less computing power so that it is available to more users and allows Google to receive more feedback, Pichai said.

The company’s newest AI developments will be applied first to Search, with the aim of more quickly answering complicated questions. Pichai gave the example of someone seeking to learn if it’s more difficult to learn how to play the piano or the guitar; that’s a more complicated question than asking how many keys a piano has.

“AI can be helpful in these moments, synthesizing insights for questions where there’s no one right answer,” Pichai said. “Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web: whether that’s seeking out additional perspectives, like blogs from people who play both piano and guitar, or going deeper on a related topic, like steps to get started as a beginner.”

This announcement comes about two months after the AI chatbot ChatGPT from OpenAI took social media by storm and put AI in the headlines as consumers flocked to play with its humanlike conversation capabilities.

A month later, it was reported that OpenAI was considering a tender offer that would value it at $29 billion — double the $14 billion it achieved in a tender offer in 2021 — and that Microsoft was in talks to increase its existing investment in the firm.

Microsoft invested $1 billion into OpenAI in 2019 and became its exclusive cloud computing partner.