It’s going to be a showdown! On February 6th, 2023, Google announced multiple actions to power Google Search and other products with AI systems, including Bard, a conversational system conceptually similar to ChatGPT.
Google has been working on AI-based systems for a long time, but in the face of the growing popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the tech giant has made multiple announcements related to AI in a blog post signed by Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO.
The potential of AI is of real concern to Google, and the response was quick to come. The most important announcement was the launch of Bard, a conversational robot rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Bard will be able to answer questions with text that mimics human syntax, but it will not be immediately available to the public. It will be tested by “trusted testers” in the coming weeks before its public availability. Bard is based on LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Application), which is similar to OpenAI’s GPT-3. LaMDA is different from other language models because it has been trained on dialogue rather than text, which includes advanced concepts such as user intent, multi-modal reinforcement learning, and recommendations so that the conversation can move from one topic to another.
LaMDA is also based on the Transformer architecture. This architecture produces a model that can be trained to read many words (a sentence or paragraph, for example), pay attention to how those words are connected to each other, and then predict which words will come next.
Google also announced that these robots will be integrated into Google directly, with “multiple AI-powered features that will synthesize information for questions for which there is not one single correct answer”. Google is the owner of the startup DeepMind, which is the origin of the Transformer neural network. This is the technology used by OpenAI’s GPT-3 and thus by ChatGPT. Microsoft has also invested more than 10 billion dollars in OpenAI, and the company intends to install AI in its suite of Office software (Word, Excel, or Powerpoint), its Bing search engine, and potentially its future version of Windows.
Google also announced that its language models will also be accessible to developers and companies to create new services, as OpenAI is already doing. Access to the API will, of course, be paid. Thus, OpenAI-Microsoft finds itself facing a formidable rival only a few weeks after making a strong impression.
At the same time as its announcement, and according to Bloomberg, Google has invested almost 400 million dollars in an AI startup called Anthropic, which is currently testing a text generation model similar to ChatGPT. This is yet another way Google is competing with OpenAI’s AI.