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China’s Google joins ChatGPT rivalry, introduces own AI chatbot


China’s Google announces the launch of its own AI chatbot – Ernie Bot – designed to compete with Microsoft’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

Move over Google Bard and Microsoft ChatGPT, China’s Google-esqe counterpart Baidu has officially joined the AI chatbot competition this week with the introduction of its own Ernie Bot.

The tech company announced Tuesday it would be finished with internal testing on its new ChatGPT style project, dubbed “Ernie Bot,” next month.

It’s the fourth company to announce similar AI advancements in the past two days, solidifying Baidu as a current competitor in the generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot rivalry, which has been heating up in the West.

Currently, ChatGPT and all Google services are blocked in China.

Ernie, or "Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration," is a large AI-powered language model introduced in 2019, according to Baidu.

Similar to ChatGTP, Ernie’s current capabilities have grown to include language understanding, language generation, and text-to-image generation.

The Beijing-based tech company plans to make Ernie available as a standalone application and then gradually merge the service into its search engine, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Let the games begin

On Monday, Google announced the launch of its conversational AI chatbot “Bard” for open testing and public release in the next few weeks. Bard, like Ernie Bot, will integrate with the platform's search function.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft, who has poured billions into Open AI’s ChatGPT, also announced Monday plans to incorporate a more powerful iteration of ChatGTP into its Edge web browser and Bing search engine.

And in a less spectacular entrance to the AI foray Tuesday, the online question and answer platform Quora launched its rival AI chatbot app “Poe” for public consumption.

AI and tech stocks, including shares for Google, Microsoft and Baidu, have been rallying over the past 24 hours as a result of the brouhaha. (Quora is not a publicly traded company.)

It’s not the first time Baidu has tried its own version of western technology platforms.

In a bid to compete with Mark Zuckerberg’s coined moniker Meta, in late 2021, Baidu released its own version of a metaverse platform, "XiRang," to less than stellar reviews.

Heavily invested in AI technology, Baidu is the creator of PaddlePaddle, China’s first open-source deep-learning platform.

The Chinese tech giant revealed its first quantum computer in August 2022.


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