08 February 2023
Fast developing artificial intelligence (AI) tools are set to start new competitive battles between Google and Microsoft.
Google chief Sundar Pichai announced this week his company had developed a new AI-powered chatbot tool. A chatbot is a computer program designed to interact with humans in a conversational way.
The search engine company said it plans to use the new chatbot service, called "Bard," to provide a better online search experience. Google currently holds more than 80 percent of the worldwide internet search market, the online data company Statista reports.
Bard is one of several recently launched tools that demonstrate major AI development progress in recent years. The tools are built by feeding huge amounts of data into machine learning computer systems. The data trains the AI systems to develop complex skills and produce human-like results.
A free writing tool called ChatGPT was launched by a company called OpenAI late last year. The tool received widespread media attention for being able to produce human-quality written documents very quickly. Technology experts have said such systems have the possibility to greatly change many different industries and professions.
Microsoft recently announced a new, multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI. As part of its partnership, Microsoft provides "supercomputing systems" to OpenAI to support the development of new AI products.
One day after Google confirmed the development of its new Bard chatbot, Microsoft announced plans to redesign its Bing search engine and Edge web browser with a series of new AI tools.
Technology experts say the two announcements are a clear sign that Google and Microsoft are seeking to compete directly in the online search market as well as other online areas.
In announcing Bard, Google head Pichai said the chatbot will first become available to a group of "trusted testers" before being released widely later this year.
Google says its tool is designed to explain complex subjects such as outer space discoveries in terms simple enough for a child to understand. The company also claims Bard will be able to perform other helpful jobs, such as providing ideas for planning a party or giving meal suggestions based on food available in the home.
In a statement, Pichai said, "Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models." He added that including new AI tools in its internet search service will permit the system to break down complex information and provide users with more conversational results.
Pichai has been talking about the importance of AI for the past six years. He noted that Google had been developing a system called "Language Model for Dialogue Applications," or LaMDA, which will be used to power Bard.
In its announcement, Microsoft said it was combining its ChatGPT technology with its search engine Bing. In explaining the move, the company said the AI tools will create richer online search experiences for its users.
But Microsoft has a long way to go to reach the level of Google's success. Statista estimated that Bing held just nine percent of the worldwide online search market in 2022.
"Think of it as faster, more accurate, more powerful" than ChatGPT, Microsoft official Yusuf Mehdi told The Associated Press.
The new AI-powered Bing was made available to computer users who signed up for it. But Mehdi said the technology will be released to millions of users in the coming weeks. After that, it will be available for smartphones using Bing and Edge. For now, anyone can try a limited number of searches, Mehdi said.
Microsoft chief Satya Nadella said during an event Tuesday that new AI developments are "going to reshape every software category we know."
Nadella also noted the importance of creating AI that recognizes "human preferences and societal norms." That kind of development, he said, cannot be done in a laboratory.
He added: "You have to do that out in the world."
I'm Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
artificial intelligence – n. the development of computer systems that have the ability to perform work that normally requires human intelligence
conversational – adj. relating to or like a conversation: a talk between two or more people, usually an informal one
accurate – adj. correct or exact
breadth – adj. the great number of different things that someone has done, knows, is interested in
category – n. a group of people or things of a similar kind
preference – n. the feeling of liking something or someone more than another person or thing
societal – adj. relating to or involving society