- Bing Chat is an AI chatbot that combines OpenAI ChatGPT with the Bing Search engine through the Prometheus model to produce responses in a natural language conversational format with citations and support for search results, images, and videos.
- On the other hand, Google Bard is a chatbot that uses the natural language model developed by Google and machine learning to produce natural conversational responses only using text without offering citations to verify the information or any kind of search results.
The race of AI chatbots is heating up, and the two leading players are Microsoft with the Bing Chat AI and Google with its new Bard AI experience. We could also add OpenAI with ChatGPT, but this guide is about comparing Bing Chat and Google Bard.
Chatbots are simply systems designed to understand natural language and simulate conversations similar to human interactions. Bing Chat and Google Bard have been trained using similar learning model techniques but offer different experiences.
In this guide, you will learn the differences between these two AI technologies from the experience point of view and briefly about their behaviors answering questions since it’s up to the user to decide which is better.
Bing Chat vs. Google Bard
Technically, Bing Chat and Bard are similar technologies, but they use different language models to train, understand, and respond to the user’s query.
Chat and Bard AI models
The Bing Chat AI is based on ChatGPT (version 4) developed by OpenAI, which uses the Large Language Model (LLM) to analyze and offer responses in a conversational format as you would when talking to another person. However, ChatGPT is only part of the equation since Microsoft also integrates the technology with its Prometheus platform that enables the chatbot to connect with the search engine to generate faster and more accurate responses for any topic, including current events.
On the other hand, Bard uses the Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) developed by Google and machine learning technology to analyze large text datasets and predicts the word that comes next to the other one, which provides the skills for the AI to produce responses similar to humans.
One of the biggest differences between Bing Chat and Google Bard is that Chat is set to be a new extension for search, while the Bard approach is to answer questions directly.
Chat and Bard user experience
The experiences using Bing Chat and Google Bard are similar and different at the same time. When you access Bing Chat, you will be presented with a minimalistic interface with three main elements, including an option to change the conversation style, a prompt box, and an option to rest the chat.
The default conversation style is “Balanced,” which allows Bing to respond more neutrally, meaning it will try not to take sides on a specific topic. However, you can change the tone to “Creative,” which will generate more playful and original responses, or “Precise,” to generate the most accurate response with more facts.
The prompt (or “Ask me anything”) box is the place to compose and submit your questions. The box supports up to 2000 characters.
Since the chatbot is aware of the context, you can query additional questions about the same topic. However, over time, the Bing Chat can get confused, which is one of the reasons you have the “New topic” button to reset the chat.
During the preview trial, Microsoft is limiting the number of questions per session and the number of sessions per day. At the time of this writing, you can ask up to 20 questions per session, and you can create up to 200 sessions per day.
When using Google Bard, at first glance, the interface seems similar, but you will quickly notice the differences. Bard also offers a minimalistic interface with two main elements, including a prompt box and a left navigation pane with options to reset the chat and access the activity history.
The prompt box is the place to compose and submit your questions, which, unlike Chat, it doesn’t limit the number of characters you can type.
You can use the “Reset chat” option on the left navigation pane to close the topic and start fresh. Google doesn’t explicitly say that you need to reset the chat, but it’s a good idea to avoid unwanted behaviors or responses when mixing topics.
Neither Google nor Microsoft collects the questions you type in the prompt box, but they grab and save the search intent in your search history. Bing calls it “search history,” and Google calls it “Bard Activity.”
If you are concerned about privacy, you can clear this data from your account. These are the instructions on Bing Chat and the steps for Google Bard.
When you submit a question, Bing Chat will show you the progress of the process and will start typing the answer as if a human was on the other side writing the answer.
On the other hand, Google Bard doesn’t show anything happing in the background. Instead, you will notice the Bard (two sparkles) icon with a spinning animation, indicating that the chatbot is thinking, and then the result will appear.
As you receive the response from the Bing Chat AI, you will notice some differences compared to Bard. For instance, Chat responses include citations with links to the source of the information. If you hover over the different fragments of the answer, a flyout will appear with additional links that the chatbot used to generate the response.
You will also notice a footnote with a list of all the sources participating in the response.
Once you have checked the information in the answer, you can access the “Share” experience that allows you to copy and share a persistent link to the exact response. Something that Google Bard can’t do.
Also, Bing Chat can suggest follow-up questions that you can use to refine your search.
On a Google Bard response, the experience will be very different. For example, answers are pure text without citations or links sourcing the content. According to Google, since Bard produces answers from the content it has learned from its language model and the internet, it doesn’t need to source the content. However, you will see a citation if the chatbot quotes a fragment from a website.
One unique feature from Google Bard that you won’t find on Bing Chat is the “View other drafts” option that allows you to choose alternative versions of the response and switch between them quickly. This feature will come in handy if you ask a question that displays a paragraph of text, and from the drafts, you can pick to view the answer in bullet points.
Also, Bard lets you edit the question without resetting the chat or asking the question again. Something you can’t do on Bing Chat.
At the bottom, you will find the “Regerate” button that forces Bard to analyze and respond to the question again. Sometimes, you will need to do this to get the correct answer.
The “Google it” button will take the question and convert it into a regular search query that will then display on a Google results page.
The “Google it” option is another big difference from Bing Chat since it makes it clear that Google wants to keep you using its search engine. However, on Bing Chat, you won’t see an equivalent option since Microsoft is trying to reinvent search.
In both experiences, you will find a thumbs up and down button to rate the answer that helps to train the system.
The format of the conversation is also different on both platforms. Bing Chat uses a more conversational format as if you were texting with someone on the phone.
On the other hand, Google Bard uses a more question-and-answer format instead of a conversational chat experience.
Chat and Bard features
As per the comparison between the features, I have already outlined many of them above. However, when it comes to features, Bing Chat seems far ahead of Google Bard.
Google dominates the search market. As such, it will try to keep users interacting with the search engine as much as possible. This is one of the reasons you won’t get citations in the responses like on Bing Chat.
Bing Chat also offers the option to change the conversational tone. Although this is an option you won’t find in Bard, initially, Chat didn’t have this option either. However, after many reports of unwanted behaviors using the chatbot for a long time, the company decided to implement some limits, including the option to change the tone style.
One feature that Google Bard still can’t match is the ability to use AI to create images. Bing Chat also integrates with the DALL-E model from OpenAI, which allows you to create virtually any image by simply describing what you want using text.
The image creator feature by itself makes Bing Chat far more capable.
Another feature that makes Bing Chat stand out is the ability to share an answer. Since every time you ask a question, you may receive a different answer, the chatbot from Microsoft allows you to create a persistent link to the exact answer. On Google Bard, you can’t share a response with other people using a link. Of course, you can always copy and paste to share the content.
One capability that makes Bard different is that you can use it on any web browser on a desktop or mobile. In contrast, you are required to use Microsoft Edge or the Bing mobile app to access the Bing Chat experience. However, there’s a workaround to accessing the chatbot from any browser.
Chat and Bard answer capabilities
Both chatbots produce good responses when it comes to answering questions, but they both have strengths and weaknesses.
However, Bing seems to be the winner when getting more accurate responses when asking questions requiring more current information. On the other hand, Google Bard is better at generating creative text formats. The new Bing experience is also more reliable, while Bard can be more creative.
For the most part, both chatbots are at the same level in questions that don’t require current information, such as those questions that only require matching information.
Whether you use Bing Chat or Google Bard, they both are capable of creating stories, poems, drafts for emails and documents, and other types of content. They both can write programming code, work in different languages, and they offer features to entertain and spark creativity.
The one thing that these two chatbots have in common is that they can (and will) make mistakes and provide inaccurate information. Whether you use Chat or Bard (or any other AI), you should always double-check the answer information.
Overall, both Bing Chat and Google Bard are good AI chatbots. However, they have different strengths and weaknesses. The best chatbot for you will depend on your specific needs.