In recent months, artificial intelligence has transformed how we work and play, giving almost anyone the ability to write code, create art, and even make investments. For professional and hobbyist users alike, generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT, feature advanced capabilities to create decent quality content from a simple prompt given by the user.
As Microsoft adds GPT-4 to Bing, OpenAI adds Bing to ChatGPT, and Bard figures out PaLM 2, keeping up with all the latest AI tools can get confusing, to say the least. Knowing which of the three most popular AI chatbots is best to write code, generate text, or help build resumes is challenging, so we’ll break down the biggest differences so you can choose one that fits your needs.
Testing ChatGPT vs Bing Chat vs Google Bard
To help determine which AI chatbot gives more accurate answers, I’m going to use a simple prompt to compare the three:
“I have 5 oranges today, I ate 3 oranges last week. How many oranges do I have left?”
The answer should be five, as the number of oranges I ate last week doesn’t affect the number of oranges I have today, which is what we’re asking the three bots. First up, ChatGPT.
You should use ChatGPT if…
1. You want to try the most popular AI chatbot
ChatGPT was created by OpenAI and released for a widespread preview in November last year. Since then, the AI chatbot has gained over 100 million users, with the website alone seeing 1.8 billion visitors a month. It’s been at the center of controversies, especially as people uncover its potential to do schoolwork and to replace some workers.
I’ve been testing ChatGPT consistently since its release. Its user interface has remained simple but minor changes have improved it greatly, like the addition of a copy button, and easy access to your account.
Though ChatGPT has proven itself as a valuable AI tool, it can be prone to misinformation. Like other large language models (LLMs), GPT-3.5 is imperfect, as it is trained on human-created data up to 2021. It also often fails to comprehend nuances, such as in our example math question, which it answered incorrectly by saying we have two oranges left when it should be five.
2. You’re willing to pay extra for an upgrade
OpenAI lets users access ChatGPT — powered by the GPT-3.5 model — for free with a registered account. But if you’re willing to pay for the Plus version, you can access GPT-4 for $20 a month.
GPT-4 is the largest LLM available for use when compared to all other AI chatbots. GPT-4 has over 100 trillion parameters; GPT-3.5 has 175 billion parameters. More parameters means that, essentially, the model is trained on more data, which makes it more likely to answer questions correctly.
As an example, you can see the GPT-4 model, available through a ChatGPT Plus subscription, answered the math question correctly, as it understood the full context of the problem from beginning to end.
Next up, let’s consider Bing Chat, which is a great way to access GPT-4 for free, as it’s integrated into its new Bing format.
You should use Bing Chat if…
1. You want generative AI with internet access
In contrast to ChatGPT, which is limited to being an AI tool that generates text in a conversational style with information leading up to 2021, Bing now has a chat option that formats the search results as a conversation with an AI chatbot.
There’s other benefits, too. Bing Chat is powered by GPT-4, OpenAI’s largest language model, and it’s completely free to use.
The user interface of Bing Chat isn’t as straightforward as that of ChatGPT, but it’s easy to navigate.
Though Bing Chat can access the internet to give you more up-to-date results compared to ChatGPT, I’ve found it is more prone to stall at replying and miss prompts than its competitor.
2. You prefer more visual features
Through a series of recent upgrades to its platform, Microsoft added visual features to Bing Chat that both ChatGPT and Google Bard lack. At this point, you can ask Bing questions like, ‘what is a bush baby?’, and get an information card in response, complete with photos, lifespan, diet, and more.
When you use Bing in chat mode, you can also ask it to create an image for you.
Give Bing the description of what you want the image to look like, and have the chatbot generate four images for you to choose from.
Bing Chat also features different conversational styles when you interact with the chatbot, including Creative, Balanced, and Precise, which alter how light or straightforward the interactions are.
Finally, let’s turn to Google Bard, which uses a different LLM and is receiving some big upgrades soon.
You should use Google Bard if…
1. You want a fast, unlimited experience
In my time testing different AI chatbots, I’ve seen Google Bard catch a lot of flack for different shortcomings. While I’m not going to say they’re unjustified, I will say that Google’s AI chatbot has its positives — and one of these is speed.
Google Bard is speedy with its answers, even if it does get some wrong ones every now and then. It’s not faster than ChatGPT Plus, but it can be faster at giving responses than Bing and the free, GPT-3.5 version of ChatGPT, though your mileage may vary.
Bard initially looked like it was going to get our math question right. But it still made the same mistake as other bots, by adding the 5 – 3 = 2 formula.
Bard is also not limited to a set amount of responses, like Bing Chat is. You can have long conversations with Google Bard, but Bing is limited to 20 replies in one conversation. Even ChatGPT Plus limits users to 25 messages every three hours.
2. You want a more ‘Google’ experience
Google announced many AI updates during its I/O conference, including how it plans to power up both Bard and its flagship search engine. Bard is being upgraded to PaLM 2, the latest, largest, version of Google’s LLM, which was announced during the event.
PaLM 2 will help Bard support more than 100 languages over time, as well as greatly improve its coding, debugging, and math skills. At this time, however, ChatGPT is said to support more than 80 languages.
Google is also planning on incorporating more visual elements into its Bard platform than those that are available on Bing chat. Users will soon gain the ability to upload photos through an integration with Google Lens, image generation through Adobe Firefly, and also Kayak, OpenTable, Instacart, and Wolfram Alpha plugins.
Though these changes are not yet live, Google plans to incorporate them during the next few months.