Google unveils ChatGPT rival Bard

STORY: Competition for the best in artificial intelligence, or AI, is heating up.

Google parent Alphabet on Monday announced plans to launch Bard - an artificial intelligence chatbot service.

Bard will be released to test users before being released to the public in the coming weeks.

Powering Bard is LaMDA, Google's AI that can generate prose so human-like that a company engineer last year called it sentient - or able to perceive or feel things - a claim the technology giant and scientists widely dismissed.

This news follows recent statements by Microsoft that it aims to infuse AI into all its products following the launch of the explosively popular ChatGPT - the chatbot sensation which can generate articles, essays, jokes and even poetry in response to prompts.

Microsoft is an investor in and partner with ChatGPT's maker, OpenAI.

It has been rated the fastest-growing consumer app in history.

Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said Google also plans to add AI-powered features to its search engine to synthesize information to answer complex queries.

Pichai said Google will give tools, first powered by LaMDA and later by other AI technology, to web developers, creators and enterprises starting next month.