Google employees have been testing several potential ChatGPT competitors as part of the tech giant’s bid to launch an answer to OpenAI’s technology CNBC. A previous report by The New York Times said Google CEO Sundar Pichai declared “Code Red” and accelerated AI development to launch at least 20 AI-powered products this year. Now, CNBC has detailed several of the products the company is working on, including a chatbot called “Apprentice Bard” that uses Google’s LaMDA conversational technology.
Apparently, Google management asked the LaMDA team to prioritize work on a ChatGPT competitor, telling them it takes precedence over any other project, and even warning them not to attend independent meetings. Apprentice Bard reportedly looks and works like ChatGPT in that a user can type a question or prompt into a text field and then receive a written response.
CNBC says it has seen samples proving the bot’s responses contain information from recent events — something ChatGPT is unable to do because it has limited knowledge of anything that happened after 2021. In one example, Apprentice Bard was able to respond as to whether there will be another round of layoffs at Google. (Unlikely for this year, it said, since the company is doing well financially.) If you recall, Google’s LaMDA technician had fired a former company engineer after claiming it had become sentient.
Google is also reportedly testing a new search page that will use a question-and-answer format. The experimental homepage has five possible question prompts replacing “I feel lucky” under the search bar. After a user enters their request, the page generates human-like responses in gray bubbles. Below these answers, follow-up questions are suggested, followed by the typical search results with links and headings. In addition, Alphabet is working on a project called “Atlas” under its cloud unit. During CNBC didn’t have details on what it is, it’s reportedly still part of Google’s “Code Red” effort.
It is unclear at this point which projects will be released to the public by Google. Google AI chief Jeff Dean told employees during an all-hands meeting to discuss the company’s response to ChatGPT that it’s “moving more conservatively than a small startup.” After all, providing false information will have a much bigger impact for a well-known company like Google. As a matter of fact, The times previously said the tech giant is prioritizing security, accuracy and blocking misinformation when developing its search chatbot. However, if reports of Microsoft integrating ChatGPT’s technology into Bing as early as March of this year are true, we’ll likely see Google’s search chatbot in the near future as well.
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