'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
At the same time that new artificial intelligence (AI) tools have been dominating headlines with their innovative ideas and captivating abilities, Google's own creation has been gaining attention for entirely different reasons.
Also: How to use ChatGPT: Everything you need to know
Google Bard is meant to be an assistive AI chatbot; a generative AI tool that can generate text for cover letters and homework to computer code and Excel formulas, question answers, and detailed translations. Similarly to ChatGPT, Bard uses AI to provide human-like conversational responses when prompted by a user.
Bard's performance, however, has been found lacking on more than one occasion. From its abysmal opening debut to its official launch, users have struggled to get the chatbot to provide accurate information or even follow along a conversation without hallucinating.
Also: Bard vs. ChatGPT: Can Bard help you code?
There's some other big differences between Bard and other AI-powered chatbots. Bard can access Google's search engine, while ChatGPT has no internet access and has only been trained on information available up to 2021. Google Bard competes more directly with Bing Chat, Microsoft's new AI-powered Bing search engine, which uses GPT-4, OpenAI's most advanced large language model, and it has access to the entirety of the web.
To get started on how to use Google's new chatbot, you'll want to visit the Bard homepage by going to Bard.Google.com and logging into your Google account.
Bard AI is pretty straightforward; once you log in, you'll be taken straight to the chat window. Like the rest of the most popular AI chatbots available for widespread use, the Google Bard chat window has been optimized to be user friendly and easy to navigate.
Here's what you'll find when you open the Bard window (pictured below):
At this point, you're ready to start using Google's Bard AI. Just enter your query in the text area and send it to the chatbot to see its response.
The Bard AI chatbot can answer most questions you ask, since it uses the search tools from Google. These AI-based answers can serve many purposes, from giving you recipes to helping you debug code.
Also: How to write better ChatGPT prompts (and this applies to most other text-based AIs, too)
Here are some examples of prompts you can ask the bot:
For months now, Bard AI has only been accessible through a waitlist, but in May the company announced during its Google I/O event that it's ending the waitlist access program and opening up its new AI tool to over 180 countries and territories. Now anyone that logs in with their Google account can access Bard AI, no need to wait.
Also: ChatGPT and the new AI are wreaking havoc on cybersecurity in exciting and frightening ways
Google doesn't save your entire interaction each time you chat with its chatbot, but it does save the prompts and questions you asked it. That being said, as a search engine, Google is known for being one of the largest trackers in the world, so giving its chatbot private information is probably not a great idea.
Also: Why your ChatGPT conversations may not be as secure as you think
Bard uses its own large language model named Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), instead of the GPT series, which is the technology that many popular AI chatbots are using. Google Bard is the first chatbot to use a lightweight and optimized version of LaMDA.
Also: This new technology could blow away GPT-4 and everything like it
Bard AI is now also available for Workspace accounts. The Workspace admin needs to go to the Admin Console and enable Bard so their users can access it. A Worspace admin can do this by following these steps:
Google Bard and other AI chatbots, such as Bing Chat and ChatGPT, certainly have the potential to replace search engines. These AI tools use information found on the web to provide answers to users' queries, but instead of giving them a list of websites where that answer may or may not be found, these tools provide a straightforward, though not always accurate, answer in a conversational manner.
Also: The new AI-powered Bing is now open to everyone - with some serious upgrades
Some people might use AI chatbots in place of a Google Search, especially since the added abilities of asking follow-up questions and generating text make it more functional for some use cases than a search engine.
When Bard AI was announced last February, it faced scrutiny after factual mistakes made during its demo. Users have subsequently wondered whether Google's new chatbot still continues to provide inaccurate or inappropriate responses and whether it can be trusted, as some have come to trust other AI tools.
Also: I tested Google Bard. It was surprisingly bad
Google has reiterated that Bard is an experiment capable of making mistakes. The company wants users to provide feedback on their experiences to improve LaMDA and propel it forward.