Google began to open Bard yesterday and as more of us began to use it and compare it to competitors like Bing Chat and OpenAI’s ChatGPT, we are noticing differences between them. One of the big differences between Google Bard and Bing Chat is that Bard seems to rarely show citations and links to publishers and content creators.
Why Google rarely shows citations. Google has updated its Bard FAQs to explain that Bard will likely show citations when Bard “directly quotes at length from a webpage.” Otherwise, Bard won’t show a citation because Bard “generates original content” and does “not replicate existing content at length.”
“How and when does Bard cite sources in its responses?
Bard, like some other standalone LLM experiences, is intended to generate original content and not replicate existing content at length. We’ve designed our systems to limit the chances of this occurring, and we will continue to improve how these systems function. If Bard does directly quote at length from a webpage, it cites that page.
Bard was built to be a creative and helpful collaborator—it works well in creative tasks like helping you write an email or brainstorm ideas for a birthday party. We see it as a complementary experience to Google Search. That’s why we added the “Google It” button to Bard, so people can easily move from Bard to explore information from across the web.
Bard is an experiment, and we’ll use its launch as an opportunity to learn, iterate, and improve the experience as we get feedback from a range of stakeholders including people like you, publishers, creators, and more.”
Examples. Here is an example of Bard answering a question but not having any citations:
Compare that to asking Bing Chat exactly the same question and Bing links to its sources:
Google It button. Google does say, to use the “Google It” button to go to search to click on content that matches the query. Google has that button, it said, “so people can easily move from Bard to explore information from across the web.”
When Google shows links and citations. Here is an example of Google showing citations and links but to be fair, these links did not show up in the first draft response, it only showed in the subsequent draft responses:
Why we care. For now, Google Bard likely won’t be sending a lot of traffic to the web or websites. Google has said Google Bard is not a replacement for Search. Google currently sees Bard as a different kind of tool and will adapt it over time. But for now, Google wrote, “Bard is an experiment, and we’ll use its launch as an opportunity to learn, iterate, and improve the experience as we get feedback from a range of stakeholders including people like you, publishers, creators, and more.”