Google CEO enlists entire company to chat up Bard AI to make it better than Bing

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc., speaks during the company's Cloud Next '18 event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, July 24, 2018
(Image credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images)

It seems that news of Google Bard’s AI shortcomings is already having a ripple effect in the company, and the CEO is taking action, according to a new report.

According to a leaked business memo first revealed by Business Insider and reported on by Gizmodo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a company-wide email to the tech giant’s employees stating that he would “appreciate” if all staff “contributed in a deeper way” to improving Google Bard, including chatting with the AI for two to fours a day in order to help sniff out kinks and issues to be fixed.

A Google spokesperson told Gizmodo that “testing and feedback, from Googlers and external trusted testers, are important aspects of improving Bard to ensure it’s ready for our users.” However, they never specified how long and how often this testing for employees will last.

Microsoft Bing and ChatGPT have Google spooked

Google revealed Bard last week after Microsoft revealed its own ChatGPT AI integration into its new and improved Bing. Google workers had complained about the rushed launch and, according to a report from CNET, used the company’s internal meme forum MemeGen to poke fun at the AI.

It’s no wonder they’ve been mocking Bard; even during the Live from Paris livestream event that debuted Google’s LaMDA chatbot-powered AI program, the bot made a key factual error that resulted in a $100 billion drop in the company's market valuation in a single day. Since then, employee-made memes have been calling both the technology and the presentation “rushed, botched, and myopic.”

Bard is now in a rocky place and the tech giant is effectively forcing employees to take time out of their own work schedules to poke and prod at an unpolished AI to get to stop stumbling around so much. Another company-wide email from Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s vice president for search, was seen by CNBC (opens in new tab), which quotes the email as saying: "Bard learns best by example, so taking the time to rewrite a response thoughtfully will go a long way in helping us to improve the mode."

The email goes on to say, “This is exciting technology but still in its early days. We feel a great responsibility to get it right, and your participation in the dogfood will help accelerate the model’s training and test its load capacity (Not to mention, trying out Bard is actually quite fun!).”

The botched announcement of Google Bard AI is ironic considering all the issues Microsoft Bing’s own AI-powered search program has been encountering, like having a breakdown and making things up while throwing tantrums. It remains to be seen how Google Bard will fair but considering how muddled things have already been for it, it has a long way to go to recoup its reputation loss. 

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.