Google’s Bard is Playing Catch-up

Bard, Google’s experimental conversational AI model, has faced criticism from users for its limited knowledge and responses compared to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing Chat, both powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4.

To fix this, Google CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed that Bard is going to switch from LaMDA, the large language model (LLM) that Bard is currently using, to the much bigger PaLM LLM. You know what they say: “Go big or go home.”

The AI wars are real; for Google, the stakes could not be higher. Conversational AI is going to reduce web traffic, which is bad for Google. It is likely going to have a quantifiably negative impact on Google’s search business, which is even worse for Google. Alphabet’s only answer is to make Bard as good (or better) than the competition… but then they are going to have to figure out how to make up for the lost search revenue.

Yesterday, Bing said it’s going to put ads directly into its GPT-4-based chatbot. I am having trouble imagining what an acceptable format for that advertising would be. Could you imagine ads showing up in the middle of a conversation while you were texting someone? I already get pissed off when Alexa starts babbling about a deal or offer when I ask it a question.

Think about this… Right now, whenever you search, you are not getting the best answer; you are getting the answer with the best SEO. As conversational AI evolves, we will learn when (and when not) to use it for our information-gathering needs. Once we become confident about generative AI use cases, we’re going to lose our tolerance for advertiser-driven search.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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