September 24, 2023

Alphabet’s AI Chatbot Bard Expands to Europe and Brazil, Amplifying Rivalry with Microsoft’s ChatGPT

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is stepping up its game in the field of AI, rolling out its artificial intelligence chatbot, Bard, in Europe and Brazil. This move marks the most significant product expansion since its initial launch in the US and UK back in March, intensifying the competition with Microsoft’s ChatGPT.

Bard and ChatGPT are both generative AI systems capable of responding to queries in a human-like manner. Bard’s European launch was initially delayed due to privacy concerns raised by the bloc’s primary data regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commission. The regulator claimed that Google had not provided sufficient information on how its AI tool would protect European citizens’ privacy.

In response, Alphabet confirmed having held meetings with the regulators to address these concerns about transparency, choice, and control. Amar Subramanya, Bard’s engineering vice president, explained in a media briefing that users could opt out of data collection if they wished.

Newly introduced features in Bard include the ability to audibly speak back answers and respond to image-based prompts. “You can collaborate with Bard in over 40 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, and Spanish,” said Google’s senior product director, Jack Krawczyk, highlighting the product’s vast language compatibility.

The global excitement around generative AI has led to significant investments. Companies are pouring billions into AI development with the hopes of generating even greater revenue from advertising and cloud services.

However, not all tech figures are equally enthused. Elon Musk, who recently announced the formation of a new AI start-up called xAI, has called for a halt on AI development and advocated for regulation in the sector.

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Amid all these developments, novelty interest in AI chatbots seems to be on the decline, with web user numbers showing a decrease in monthly traffic and unique visitors to ChatGPT’s website for the first time in June.