Is Google Bard AI Free? How much does it cost?

The talk of the town in technology circles today is Google‘s new artificial intelligence chatbot – Bard. Announced earlier this month, Bard has been pitched as Google‘s alternative to ChatGPT that can engage in thoughtful conversations and generate creative content.

This has left many wondering – will Google Bard be free to use or will it come with a price tag? As a potential ChatGPT rival, there is huge interest in the capabilities of Bard and whether Google will make this AI accessible for everyone.

Introducing Google Bard

First, let‘s start by understanding what exactly is Bard and what it aims to do.

Bard is Google‘s conversational AI system that can not only provide helpful information across a broad range of topics, but also create original poems, stories, dialogues, and other text upon prompt.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Bard as "an experimental conversational AI service" that is designed to combine the breadth of the world‘s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of Google‘s language models.

Under the hood, Bard is powered by Google‘s Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). LaMDA is Google‘s neural network model trained specifically for having human-like conversions. It can understand context, nuance, humor and other intricacies of natural language.

Overall, Google is positioning Bard as much more than just a search engine. It aims to provide thoughtful and in-depth responses tailored to the user‘s query, while also being capable of unique linguistic creativity that goes beyond just factual responses.

Think of Bard as your very own AI-powered expert, writer and assistant all rolled into one.

When will Bard be available?

Bard is currently still in testing with a limited group of trusted testers. It has not been opened up for public access yet.

Google announced Bard prematurely perhaps in response to ChatGPT‘s meteoric rise. But this resulted in an embarrassing gaffe during the launch, when Bard provided an incorrect response in a promotional tweet.

This underscores the challenges in developing a reliable conversational AI assistant. Following this incident, Google has been more cautious about overpromising capabilities before thorough testing.

Sundar Pichai stated Bard will be launched in the coming weeks as a "lightweight" model initially, and will be continuously tested and trained before becoming widely available.

So while an exact timeline is unclear, interested users can expect to get access to Bard in some form later in 2024. But Google will likely ramp up availability in phases rather than full public release right away.

Will Google Bard be free to use?

The big question on everyone‘s mind – will Google make Bard free or charge for it?

Google has not officially commented on their monetization strategy yet. However, looking at Google‘s history and business model provides some clues.

Google‘s core services like Search, Gmail, Maps, Drive and Photos are all freely available to users. Google monetizes them by showing contextual ads and using data for targeting.

So there is a strong chance Google will make baseline access to Bard free as well, while using aggregrated data to improve the service over time. This follows Google‘s approach with most products – provide free access to build user base, gain data, and monetize through ads.

That said, developing advanced AI has huge compute and infrastructure costs. So Google may introduce additional capabilities or features for Bard that require a paid subscription.

For example, ChatGPT also provides free access to basic features, but charges $20 per month for ChatGPT Plus subscription that unlocks perks like faster response times, priority access and unlimited use.

Google may adopt a similar "Bard Basic" (free) and "Bard Pro" (paid) mixed model. The paid version could provide benefits like:

  • Ad-free experience
  • Faster responses from Bard
  • More chat requests per day/month
  • Priority access to new features
  • Offline access

By keeping a free offering, Google can target mainstream adoption while monetizing power users via subscriptions. This blended approach is likely as it aligns with Google‘s overall business strategy.

What are some key features of Bard?

Based on what Google has revealed about Bard so far, here are some of its most notable capabilities:

Nuanced conversational ability – Bard can sustain long-form conversational queries and respond appropriately based on the full context. Its training helps understand nuances like tone, humor, personality etc.

Creative writing – You can prompt Bard to generate creative content like poems, lyrics, fictional stories, scripts, and more based on your inputs.

Knowledge synthesis – Explain complex topics by synthesizing information from various sources. For example, Bard can summarize the key events that led to the Russian revolution in an essay format.

Updated information – Unlike ChatGPT which is limited to 2021 data, Bard aims to provide recent, timely information by indexing the latest web content.

Multilingual – Bard is trained in multiple languages beyond English, allowing broader global use.

Personalized assistance – Perform personalized tasks like scheduling meetings on your calendar, planning travel itineraries, budgeting finances etc.

Integration with Google services – As a Google product, Bard integrates seamlessly into other Google apps to enable richer experiences. For example – using Bard within Google Docs to refine your writing.

While these capabilities sound very promising, it remains to be seen how accurate, helpful and safe Bard will be in practice once released widely. The demo mishap shows training conversational AI is extremely complex.

How does Bard compare to rivals like ChatGPT?

As the dominant player in search, Google wants to lead in being the gateway for AI-driven information as well. And that puts it on a collision course with ChatGPT and other emerging startups.

Both Bard and ChatGPT belong to the category of large language models – AI trained on vast troves of text data to generate human-like output. But there are some key differences:

Underlying architecture: Bard is based on Google‘s LaMDA while ChatGPT uses OpenAI‘s GPT-3 technology. Both are advanced transformer-based neural networks suitable for natural conversation.

Knowledge breadth: Bard has potential advantage of Google‘s 20+ years of search corpus covering wider topics. ChatGPT is limited to its training datasets.

Education methods: Both use unsupervised learning but LaMDA is more heavily tuned for dialogue while GPT-3 for fluent generation.

Freshness of information: Bard can tap into latest Google search results for timely facts. ChatGPT is restricted to pre-2021 data.

Integration: Bard integrates with other Google services natively because it‘s in-house. ChatGPT has no such tight integration.

Monetization: Google has multiple existing revenue streams while ChatGPT explores options.

Launch stage: ChatGPT is already widely available whereas Bard is in early restricted rollout.

Both have downsides like potential bias, inaccuracy and need for ongoing human guidance. But Bard‘s integration into Google products used by billions gives it an inherent advantage over startups like OpenAI.

The challenges in developing conversational AI

The conversational AI space is exploding thanks to advances in deep learning and sheer computing power available today. All tech giants including Microsoft, Meta and Baidu are investing heavily in this space.

However, as evident by Bard‘s glitchy demo, we are still far from building human-level chatbots. There remain enormous challenges:

  • Avoiding biased and incorrect responses: Without proper monitoring, these models can reinforce stereotypes and give confident but false responses.

  • Handling sensitive topics appropriately: Conversational AI need to tread carefully with polarizing subjects like politics, religion etc. OpenAI prohibits certain topics.

  • Updating knowledge continuously: Being conversational means constantly learning and adapting to new information.

  • Integrating real-world knowledge: Most models today have limited grounding in how the physical world actually works.

  • Understanding human intent and emotion: Subtleties like sarcasm, humor and detecting intent remain difficult areas.

  • Securing personal information: How user data will be handled securely and ethically is still being figured out.

The rapid progress makes conversational AI look more capable than it actually is. Responsible testing is crucial before unleashing these chatbots widely.

The market landscape for conversational AI

While still early days, conversational artificial intelligence is projected to grow into a massive market over the next decade:

  • The global chatbot market alone is forecast to grow from $2.6 billion in 2022 to $19.4 billion by 2027 as per Emergen Research.

  • MarketsandMarkets estimates the conversational AI market will grow from $4.2 billion in 2019 to $15.7 billion by 2024 at a CAGR of 30.0%

  • Increasing demand for AI assistants across industries, rising adoption of cloud-based solutions, and improving chatbot sophistication are key drivers.

  • Retail, healthcare, BFSI and ecommerce are top application areas for chatbots and virtual assistants today.

Startups like Anthropic,, Claude and are emerging as innovators alongside large tech firms. Investments in conversational AI is booming – over $1 billion was invested globally across 40+ deals in 2022 per CBInsights.

This shows the soaring interest in commercializing conversational interfaces powered by modern AI. As a Big Tech leader, Google clearly wants to capitalize on this opportunity with Bard.

The pros and cons of Big Tech dominating AI

Google, Microsoft, Meta and other tech giants are betting big on conversational AI like Bard as both a consumer product and a resource for their own services. However, Big Tech‘s dominance in this arena has trade-offs:


  • Access to vast high-quality datasets due to their popularity
  • Resources to deploy AI training at massive scales
  • Integration with widely used services improves experience
  • Familiarity and trust in established consumer brands


  • Risk of replicating and reinforcing problematic biases that exist online
  • Stifling innovation and competition from smaller players
  • Excessive concentration of power and data in a few companies
  • Questions about ethical use of user data to train models

There are merits to both consolidated versus decentralized progress in AI research. But active steps have to be taken for democratization and responsible development of these powerful technologies.

When can the public get access to try Bard?

Google has launched a signup page at where interested users can register for early access. The waitlist is currently open for the US only.

By signing up, you may get an opportunity to become one of the initial testers of Bard and provide feedback to Google before it is widely launched.

Those on the waitlist will be notified by Google if and when they are selected for preview access. However, Google has not provided a timeline for opening up Bard more broadly after testing.

The initial scaled down version of Bard is expected to become available in the coming weeks and months. But the full capabilities will likely take much longer – potentially not until late 2023 or beyond.

Trying new AI products before release is always exciting. But temper your expectations – early testing phases are meant to improve the product. The real impact comes from continued use at scale.


Google Bard has the potential to take conversational AI mainstream through integration with its widely used search, cloud and other services. Its biggest advantage lies in leveraging Google‘s vast repositories of data to make AI more capable and up-to-date.

However, technical prowess alone is not enough. Responsible design, rigorous testing and focus on positive real-world impact will be key to making Bard a success. The journey to creating safe, trustworthy and unbiased conversational agents remains long.

For average consumers, Bard offers the promise of an AI assistant that is both informative and creative on demand. We expect Google to make baseline access free, while monetizing through add-ons and data value. The possibilities of enhancing human creativity and productivity through AI assistants like Bard make for an exciting future. But we must tread carefully and consciously to avoid the pitfalls we have seen from unbridled technological disruption.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.