I keep hearing that Microsoft Edge is now a decent browser. I was not really interested in testing that until now. Sometimes I use Safari and Samsung Internet but most times I rely on my trusty Chrome, especially on desktop.
I am in the majority, Chrome has 65.4% of the browser market share. Safari comes in second with 18.7%, Edge has 4.5%, Firefox 3%, Samsung Internet 2.6% and Opera 2.4%.
What exactly is it about Chrome? It can’t be Google search because you can set that as the default search engine for pretty much every browser. Google search has a 93% market share as a result.
Edge tries to make the process of defaulting to Google search convoluted, and keeps the Bing search bar on the New Tab screen, smack dab in the middle of the screen.
Where this Bing business used to be a disadvantage, Microsoft is looking to change that with ChatGPT. We talked about ChatGPT here. Go read that first if you aren’t familiar with the generative AI.
Microsoft announced a new version of Bing that is powered by the same AI tech that powers ChatGPT. This will make Bing conversational where you will be able to chat with Bing like you can with ChatGPT and receive answers in natural language.
This is a big deal. Google Assistant and Siri can give you an idea of what that’s like. Instead of getting links to websites, you get the answer in natural language. When you ask a question it tries to answer it, not just present a list of links.
This new version of Bing will be paired with the new AI-enhanced Edge browser and Google is quaking in its boots at the thought.
Google announced Bard, their own AI-powered chatbot to rival ChatGPT.
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics
Google has been in the AI business for a while and have a language model you may already be familiar with – LaMDA. Last year, we talked about a Google engineer who was fired because he believed the AI had come alive (become sentient.)
So good are LaMDA’s answers that even Google engineers can be fooled into thinking the AI is somehow alive and self-aware. This LaMDA is what Bard, their chatbot, is built on.
So, naturally, armed with what is most likely the most powerful language model in the world, Google couldn’t sit by and let ChatGPT get all the headlines. However, in a rush to show that Bard is capable too, Google ended up embarrassing themselves.
Bard with the fumble
Google posted a GIF demonstrating how Bard will work. Bard was asked for recent news about the James Webb Space Telescope in language suitable for a nine-year-old. The language Bard used was indeed child-friendly and it spat out a lot of fun facts and news.
The only problem was that Bard gave out one incorrect fact. It claimed the James Webb telescope was the first to take pictures of exoplanets. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope was the first to take pictures of exoplanets, not James Webb. Reuters were quick to point that out. Oh, the embarrassment.
This exact thing is what the ChatGPT guys warned us about, these chatbots can give you false information with all the confidence in the world. Therefore the telescope situation above doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, we know the limitations of conversational AI currently.
Unfortunately for Google, investors thought it was a big deal. That simple GIF wiped US$100 billion off Google’s (Alphabet’s) market value.
The GIF was part of Bard’s promotional material and no one bothered to check whether the answers it spewed out were correct. Google engineers were probably too confident in LaMDA. It reeks of desperation and a rush to respond to ChatGPT or arrogance. Maybe that’s why investors read a lot into the GIF fumble.
It is by no means the end for Bard. The AI wars are only just beginning and Bard could yet win the war. ChatGPT is in the lead and has all the hype but that is no guarantee of success.
What Bard has going for it
What Bard has going for it in my opinion is that it is a Google product. This means when it is infused into a search engine it will be into Google search, the dominant search engine. I can see myself choosing Google with Bard over Bing with ChatGPT.
Where ChatGPT will have to contend with the Edge browser, Bard will have the dominant Chrome to work with. ChatGPT can be accessed via Chrome but it will not be built in like Bard will be.
That’s all on paper though, the battle is raging on as we speak and we shall see who will be standing when all is said and done. Do remember there are other players in the field:
My question to you though is, are you even interested in natural language answers or do you prefer to get links to the most useful websites and pick it up from there? Do you use Google Assistant or Siri on your phone as I do? Do let us know in the comments section below.