Google announced Tuesday that it will allow more people to interact with "Bard," the artificial intelligence chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead on a pivotal technology battleground.

In the next phase of Bard, Google opens a waiting list to use an AI tool similar to the ChatGPT technology that Microsoft began rolling out to its Bing search engine with flying great success last month. And last week, Microsoft incorporated more AI-based technology into its word processing programs, spreadsheets, and slideshows with a new feature called Copilot.

Until now, Bard was only available to a small group of "trusted testers" selected by Google. The Mountain View, California, company, owned by Alphabet Inc, has not said how many people will have access to Bard in the next phase of development of the technology. Initial applicants will be limited to the US and UK before Google offers Bard in more countries.

Google is acting cautiously in rolling out its AI tools, in part because it has the most to lose if the technology throws inaccurate information or leads its users down dark corridors. That's because Google's dominant search engine has become a de facto gateway to the internet for billions of people, raising the risk of a massive backlash that could tarnish its image and undermine its advertising-driven business if the technology misbehaves.

Despite the pitfalls of technology, Bard still offers "incredible benefits," such as "boosting human productivity, creativity and curiosity," Google says in a blog post that two of its vice presidents — Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins — wrote with Bard's help.

As a precaution, Google is limiting interaction between Bard and its users, a tactic Microsoft has imposed with ChatGPT after media outlets reported cases in which the technology compared an Associated Press reporter to Hitler and tried to persuade a New York Times reporter to divorce his wife.

Google also provides access to Bard through a site independent of its search engine, which serves as the basis for the digital ads that generate most of its profits. In a tacit acknowledgment that Bard may be prone to fabricating falsehoods, which in tech circles are referred to as "hallucinations," Google offers a query box connected to its search engine to make it easier for users to check the accuracy of the information displayed by the AI.

Bard made an embarrassing mistake shortly after Google unveiled the tool by prominently displaying an erroneous answer about a scientific milestone during a presentation that was supposed to show how smart the technology could be. The gaffe contributed to a nearly 8 percent drop in Alphabet shares in a single day, wiping out nearly $100 billion in shareholder wealth and underscoring how close investors are to how Google manages the AI transition.

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