Google takes first shot in AI search engine wars, announces Bard competitor to ChatGPT

Google search
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Google announced an AI tool called Bard that will compete with the Microsoft-backed ChatGPT.
  • Bard is powered by Google's Language Model for Dialogue Applications, also known as LaMDA.
  • Microsoft is expected to announce an AI-powered version of Bing at its secret event later today.

Google announced its own AI tool for search just a day before Microsoft is expected to unveil ChatGPT integration with Bing. The move is another shot in what will likely be an AI war between tech giants. Bard will begin rolling out to "trusted testers" immediately and then make its way to general availability in the coming weeks (via CNBC). 

LaMDA, short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, powers Bard. A feature known as "Apprentice Bard" will act as a chatbot, allowing follow-up questions to facilitate a back-and-forth between the AI tool and users.

Google will also add AI features to search. "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," said Google in a blog post.

Bard will bring in information from the web. That's different than the version of ChatGPT that's currently available, which relies on data from before 2021. Microsoft is expected to announce a version of Bing that uses ChatGPT and works with up-to-date information at a secret event later today.

Google will first release a version of Bard running on the lightweight version of LaMDA. That will allow the company to test the tool with more users and to receive more feedback, since the lightweight version uses less computing power.

Bard will compete with the new Bing that's expected to be announced later today. Microsoft's revamped search engine briefly went live last week, leaking details about the new Bing. The AI integration will allow Bing to work as a "research assistant, personal planner, and creative partner at your side," according to images that were shared of the service.

The new Bing will feature a chat box rather than a traditional search box. It, like Google's Bard, will allow users to interact with natural language. The search engine will then show sources for information alongside its responses.

In related news, China's Baidu Inc said that it is working on a ChatGPT competitor as well (via Reuters). The project is known as Ernie Bot and is expected to complete internal testing in March, according to sources that spoke with Reuters.

The report indicates that Baidu will release its Ernie Bot as a standalone service first and integrate it with search over time.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at