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Bard vs. ChatGPT: What's the difference?

ChatGPT took the spotlight for AI-generated content, and Google answered with Bard. While Bard and ChatGPT may perform similar tasks, there are differences between the two.

OpenAI's ChatGPT launched in November 2022, and it quickly became an internet sensation. Now, Google has introduced its own AI-powered chatbot in a battle between the tech giants.

Generative AI creates content after a user queries it, using data from its machine learning model. The content is generated automatically to answer questions and create images, text or videos created by AI.

When OpenAI launched ChatGPT, people began looking for ways to use AI-generated content and AI technology for business, educational and personal purposes. However, AI experts warned that the information can mix up content when pulled from incorrect data sources. Generative content has its pros and cons.

Microsoft also recently announced a multiyear partnership with OpenAI to increase AI capabilities.

Alphabet, Google's parent company, announced Google's answer to ChatGPT -- a conversational AI chatbot named Bard. 

Even with similar functions, there are key differences between the two AI tools.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that uses machine learning to answer queries in a conversational dialogue. OpenAI released ChatGPT on Nov. 30, 2022. Within five days, ChatGPT reached 1 million users, according to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, which finds patterns within data sequences. ChatGPT currently uses the GPT-3.5 language model, which is trained from human-created text on the internet. The paid version, ChatGPT Plus, now uses the upgraded GPT-4 model. ChatGPT uses the AI language model to formulate responses to user queries.

Popular AI-generated content for ChatGPT includes the following:

  • Written code.
  • Product descriptions.
  • Blog posts.
  • Email drafts.
  • Summaries of transcripts, meetings and podcasts.
  • Simple explanations of complex topics.
  • Law briefs.
  • Translations.
  • Jokes or memes.
  • Social media posts.

Teachers and professors were concerned about ChatGPT producing convincing essays, questioning how to prevent students from cheating. In response, OpenAI announced a new AI text classifier in January 2023.

What is Bard?

Google Bard is also an AI-powered chatbot that simulates human conversations with natural language processing and machine learning by drawing responses from the internet. Bard originally used LaMDA for dialogue applications but upgraded to Google’s next-generation language model PaLM 2 (Pathways Language Model). This model is better at common sense reasoning, logic and mathematics compared to previous models, Google said in a blog.  The company also said this model is faster than previous versions. Bard provides more detailed answers to questions asked than the typical Google search through this large language model.

Bard's main goal is to retrieve information in a simple answer versus a search engine results page, like digital assistants, such as Alexa and Siri, but with links for users to gather more information. Bard also works as a personal assistant and helps with tasks such as booking vacations, finding existing reservations and helping with meal planning. Bard uses more conversational or natural language queries for search rather than keywords used by search engines. Bard is available to the public and offers content in three languages in 180 countries.

List of differences between ChatGPT and Bard
Here is a snapshot of the differences between ChatGPT and Bard.

What are the main differences between ChatGPT and Bard?

The services of ChatGPT and Bard are similar, with users typing in a query to receive a humanlike response.

In February 2023, Microsoft announced it will release technology for large companies to create and customize their own chatbots using ChatGPT technology. Microsoft will also embed AI-powered search functions into its Bing search engine and Edge browser with a chat experience to aid a user's search. Google has not announced when it plans to add AI chatbot functionality to its search engine.

The main difference between ChatGPT and Bard is the data source. Bard continually draws information from the internet, so it has the latest information. ChatGPT's sources end with 2021 data, so it is limited on newer research and information. Bard has more data to gather information in real time by accessing the latest research.

Bard uses Google’s newest language model -- PaLM 2. ChatGPT uses GPT-3.5 with GPT-4 technology available in its paid version -- ChatGPT Plus.

Bard creates more chunks of information, while ChatGPT creates content in a single text prompt.

Which chatbot is better?

At this point, it's hard to judge which chatbot is better as they are both in their early training days. ChatGPT is efficient at generating and summarizing text requests. Bard does a better job of answering questions with more relevant information. These chatbots are still being trained as users submit feedback, so there may be changes.

Pros of Bard:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Better for research.
  • Can research current information such as recent events.
  • Summarize webpages.

Cons of Bard:

  • Does not track previous requests.
  • Can be prone to AI hallucinations and make up information.
  • Doesn’t offer as many plug-ins and integrations.
  • Sources aren’t always reliable on the internet.

Pros of ChatGPT:

  • Better at writing.
  • Stores previous conversations.
  • Can share responses with others.
  • Offers various plug-ins and integrations with popular sites and apps such as Expedia, Instacart and Zapier.

Cons of ChatGPT:

  • Need to copy and paste article for summary.
  • Responses may be long so difficult to scan.
  • Must be fact-checked to prevent hallucinations or wrong information.
  • The more advanced version is not free.

Generative AI alternatives

There are other AI content generators available. There are also several startups working on their own projects, including ChatSonic, Jasper, Open Assistant and Wordtune. China's search engine, Baidu, also uses AI with an application called Ernie Bot.

The future of AI in marketing continues to change and adapt as quickly as it started by finding additional uses beyond content generation, such as customer service, email optimization, product recommendations and social media posts.

Next Steps

How to detect AI-generated content

ChatGPT vs. GPT: How are they different?

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