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Google Reportedly Planning Paid-for “Bard Advanced” to Rival ChatGPT Plus

Last Updated January 5, 2024 2:06 PM
James Morales
Last Updated January 5, 2024 2:06 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Google is expected to unveil Bard Advanced in early 2024.
  • Android developer Dylan Roussel has reported that the new service will require a paid subscription.
  • Bard Advanced will offer premium features unavailable with the free version of Bard, competing with ChatGPT Plus.

As leading chatbots compete to attract users, Google allowing unlimited free use of Bard is one of the platform’s biggest advantages. On the other hand, the tiered approach pursued by OpenAI, which offers both a free and paid-for version of ChatGPT, presents a far more compelling business model for AI developers. 

Google’s decision not to introduce a paid-for Bard service akin to ChatGPT Plus seems to be a user acquisition strategy. However, screenshots shared by Android developer Dylan Roussel suggest Bard’s days as an untiered free service could be coming to an end. 

Bard Advanced to Incorporate Google’s Latest AI Model: Gemini Ultra

So far, Google has revealed precious little information about Bard Advanced. Pretty much the only reference to the platform can be found in a blog post  by Vice President Sissie Hsiao, who confirmed that it will give users “first access to our most advanced models and capabilities.”

Specifically, Bard Advanced will incorporate the “Ultra” version of Google’s latest multimodal AI model – Gemini. 

CCN reached out to Google to verify Roussel’s assertion that the new service will require a paid subscription, but the firm has yet to respond to the request. Meanwhile, Bard itself said “it is likely that there will be some sort of cost associated with the service”. This was because “Google will need to recoup the investment in developing and maintaining it”.

Google Planning New Bard Features in 2024

Alongside Bard Advanced, Roussel also discovered evidence of a string of new Bard features Google appears to be working on.  These include a “Gallery” displaying example prompts and dedicated tab to help users manage long-running tasks. There also appears to be a “power up” feature that will use AI to improve users’ prompts. 

Of all the potential Bard upgrades highlighted, perhaps the most tantalizing is one called Motoko. This will let users create their own bots, although Roussel admitted that he could not “say what they mean by bots exactly.”

Playing Catchup With ChatGPT

According to Similarweb , on a typical day the ChatGPT website typically generates 400%–1,000% more traffic than Google Bard, implying a much larger base of users. This suggests Google’s decision not to follow OpenAI by reserving its most advanced AI models for paying subscribers could be a move to grow Bard’s share of the chatbot market.

Bard vs ChatGPT user count
  Bard vs ChatGPT daily users.

As a completely free platform, so far, Bard has been competing with the GPT-3.5 version of ChatGPT. With Bard Advanced, however, Google appears to be positioning the new chatbot as a rival to ChatGPT Plus, which gives users access to the more powerful GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo models.

Going forward, Google appears committed to developing new Bard features that could give it an edge over ChatGPT. Convincing users to pay for new services won’t be easy, though.

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