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|Reviewing Google's new Bard AI tool in comparison to ChatGPT|
|Google have launched a new AI tool called Bard, which is similar to the much-publicised ChatGPT tool from the OpenAI foundation. I thought I'd put both tools to the test!|
In February Google launched Bard, an AI tool designed to answer natural language queries (and presumably to go head-to-head with the ChatGPT tool developed by OpenAI with lots of funding from Microsoft). I thought it would be useful to compare the two tools in 4 areas:
Availability and cost
Which tool is easier to access, and which is cheaper?
How long do you have to wait for the results from each tool?
Which tool's results are more up to date?
Quality of results
A subjective view of which tool gives the better results.
For those who dislike reading analyses and just want a quick management summary, I would say that as things stand ChatGPT would be my AI tool of choice: you may have to pay a monthly fee to ensure you can use it when you want to, but I think it gives better results (although admittedly it takes much longer to do this).
The good news about Bard is that it is - at least for now - completely free to use. The bad news is that you have to join a waiting list to use it, using a personal email address. From memory, however, it only took a day or so for my request to be authorised, and I can now happily use Bard:
Bard waiting to be asked something!
By contrast, although older versions of ChatGPT are free, the latest one (ChatGPT 4) requires a monthly subscription payment of $20 (in fairness, this is if you want to get instant access to the tool without waiting). Even with this subscription there is a cap:
Chat GPT4 also waiting to solve your problems ...
So if you want to use an AI tool at home you're probably better off going for Bard, but for business use ChatGPT is probably the better option.
Bard is (much) quicker than ChatGPT. To show this, I asked both tools the following three questions (the first of which is much discussed over the years in our household), and recorded the response times (I'm not interested in the quality of the results for this test):
Is a dead slug still a slug?
If the Beatles were Teletubbies, which one would be Po?
Why did the VHS video format come to dominate over Betamax?
Not only is Bard quicker, but it also offers some alternative results. For example, both AI tools suggested Ringo as the Beatle most likely to be Po (and came up with some good justification for this), but Bard offered two alternative drafts, one of which nominated Paul:
The first draft was the most convincing, but it's nice to have a choice.
Which AI tool is more up to date? The answer to this should be straightforward: Bard. ChatGPT itself acknowledges that it is trained on a dataset going up to September 2021, whereas Bard also has a link to the current web. However, consider both tools' answers to this question:
What was the result of the last Turkish General Election?
Bard is just plain wrong:
The run-off presidential election was actually on 28th May 2023 (9 days ago at the time of writing).
By contrast, ChatGPT doesn't claim to be up to date:
A much more acceptable answer!
For basic factual questions both tools give similar results, but ChatGPT consistently has more human-like nuance.
When reading results from Bard you can just about discern the algorithm working behind the scenes, but ChatGPT frequently answers questions as well as - or better than - most well-informed humans could.
To take one example, here are the results of my slug question compared. First Bard:
Bard has answered the question factually, and thrown in a caveat to ensure it hasn't offended me in any way.
Now consider the response from ChatGPT:
Although this is the same answer in essence, it captures the spirit of the question much more convincingly.
One other thing to consider - the subject of my next blog - is that Bard doesn't claim to be able to code well,although it doesn't do a bad job in my experience. If like me you mainly want to use AI to speed up coding you'll probably want to stick to using ChatGPT for now, and fork out for the monthly subscription.
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