Home Technology Google Bard is now running on PaLM 2 — or is it?

Google Bard is now running on PaLM 2 — or is it?

Google Bard is now running on PaLM 2 — or is it?


One of the biggest announcements of Google I/O was the unveiling of PaLM 2, Google’s latest and most advanced large language model (LLM). With the transition to PaLM 2, Google claimed Bard would have have enhanced logic, math, and coding capabilities. 

Today, it was time to put these abilities to the test.

Also: I tested Google Bard’s newest coding skills. It didn’t go well…again

Since Google Bard no longer has a waitlist, to get access, all you have to do is visit Google Bard’s page and sign into your personal Gmail account. 

Once I did that, I was ready to start asking away. 

The first noticeable change was that the Bard had the option of dark mode, one of the features Google revealed at I/O meant to help reduce eyestrain when using the chatbot. This was a positive sign. 

Also: How to use Google Bard now

Next up, it was time to confirm the chatbot’s biggest upgrade, PaLM 2. To verify the upgrades for myself, I asked the chatbot “What LLM are you running under?”. The response was surpising.

Despite Google’s announcement at Google I/O, Bard told me it was still running on LaMDA. 

I am running under the Google AI LaMDA language model. LaMDA stands for “Language Model for Dialogue Applications”.

Bard screenshot

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

When I followed up that response by asking, “I thought you were running on PaLM 2”, I was met with a similar response. 

I apologize for the confusion. I am still under development, and I am not yet able to run on PaLM 2.

Google Bard Screenshot

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Is the chatbot hallucinating and providing incorrect responses as it has in the past? Or could the chatbot not been switched to PaLM 2 yet, as Google declared yesterday? I reached out to Google for some clarity, but the response left me with as many questions as I had to begin with. 

“LLMs (Bard included) can hallucinate and present inaccurate information as factual,” said the Google spokesperson. 

Also: Every major AI feature announced at Google I/O 2023

Bard’s inability to accurately say what LLM it is running on could simply be a hallucination. However, one of the biggest goals of using a more advanced LLM for Bard was to decrease the number of hallucinations that occurred. 

Despite how advanced Google claims PaLM 2 is, so far, Bard seems to continue to be plagued by the problems of the past including limited coding abilities. Perhaps Google overestimated PaLM 2’s capabilities. 

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