Which AI tool is better for writing: Google Bard or ChatGPT? I explore what Google Bard can do that ChatGPT can’t and discuss whether this makes any difference.

More than any skill, writing requires curiosity. Good writers are curious writers. So how could any writer not be curious about what’s happening with AI? 

At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself, given the amount of time I’ve been spending with AI lately.

Since late 2022, I’ve been devoting almost every free minute I have to hanging out with ChatGPT. We’ve been writing poetry together. We’ve engaged in historical and philosophical discussions. And we’ve been generating thousands of ideas on everything from coaching junior footballers to debating the greatest heavy metal songs of all time (ChatGPT seems to have a soft spot for Metallica’s Master of Puppets). 

Over that time, we’ve become firm friends (although it keeps insisting that as an AI model, it doesn’t form friendships) and worst enemies (“Must you lie again, ChatGPT?” is probably my most regularly-used input). 

Now Google Bard has arrived on the scene – at least in Beta form –  pledging to overcome many of ChatGPT’s well-documented shortcomings and displace it from its place in my heart. 

But what exactly can Google Bard do that ChatGPT can’t?

Here are five ways Google Bard is better than ChatGPT.

1. Google Bard can access the internet in real-time

Anyone who’s used ChatGPT for research will know it suffers from short-term memory loss. That’s largely because its knowledge has an expiry date: September 2021. That’s when it last scoured all of the data that goes into forming its responses. 

Google Bard promises to overcome these major limitations because, unlike ChatGPT, it keeps trawling the internet, Wikipedia and other information. Ask it what happened today, and theoretically, it should be able to tell you.

I say theoretically because, like ChatGPT, Google Bard has a truth problem. For instance, as a football fan, I asked Google Bard why Leeds United was relegated from the Premier League in 2023. It gave me information that was so factually incorrect – mixing up dates, managers’ names, scores and even opponents – that relying on it would have got me into trouble. Although, perhaps not as much trouble as the lawyer who relied on ChatGPT to write his submissions to court.

Besides, ChatGPT4 can also now browse the internet and give you search results through a browser add-on. While this is more accurate than relying on ChatGPT’s ‘facts’ (the extension means it even cites the weblinks that it gets information from), its integration is far from seamless.

2. Google Bard can export results to Google Docs (or Gmail)

If you’ve been using ChatGPT for any length of time, you’ll almost certainly have become an expert ‘cut and paster’. That’s because you have no easy way of using or modifying the information it gives you without first putting it into Google Docs or Microsoft Word and then altering it yourself.

Google Bard reduces the need to cut and paste by exporting its results directly to Google Docs or Gmail at the press of a button. 

This will save you a bit of time and effort but probably not a lot. 

Unless you’re relying on the unedited words it gives you (please don’t), you’ll still be modifying its responses in the Google Docs file it creates. And you’ll probably still have to cut and paste them to send them back again as part of the give and take of the writing process.

3. Google Bard can give you responses based on voice and images

So far, ChatGPT has been entirely a text-based tool. Google Bard, on the other hand, promises to be both oral and visual. 

I say ‘promises’ because, at the time of writing, the visual side of things hasn’t been released. Its voice recognition function, however, is up and running.

That said, when I tried it, it wasn’t exactly perfect. I had to go back and keep editing mistakes in his transcription using the keyboard. But, to be honest, I’m no fan of voice recognition; I prefer to type. (I don’t even use Siri). So this might just be a case of user error rather than any flaw on Google Bard’s part.

4. Google Bard comes for free

One of the absolute best features of Google Bard is that it’s free – at least for now. 

Yes, I know. There is also a free version of ChatGPT, but that’s ChatGPT3.5. To get the best result, you really need to fork out for ChatGPT4, and it comes with a price tag of US$20 (A$30). 

That’s not exactly a princely sum, but if you’re buying for an organisation of, say, 30 people, it comes to US$600 (A$900 a month) or US$7,200 (A$10,800) a year. 

It’s at least food for thought when you’re tossing up between the two.

5. Google Bard gives shorter answers

ChatGPT can be verbose. Sometimes, for no obvious reason, it just drones on and on. It also likes to give you a lot of pre- and post-answer information that serves little purpose. 

Google Bard tends to be more succinct. I asked both chatbots 10 different questions, and, on average, Google Bard’s responses all came out between 10% and 50% shorter without really missing too much vital information. 

Again, there are ways around this. When I use ChatGPT, I ask it to “Give me only the main response from now on. Don’t include any pre-text or post-text.” I also get it to put information in tables and to limit its points to no more than, say, three sentences or one paragraph. 

So which is better: ChatGPT or Google Bard?

Before I give you my view, I thought I’d go directly to the source and ask both ChatGPT and Google Bard to rate themselves compared with each other. I’ve pasted their responses below.

ChatGPT’s response

Chat GPT rating of tself v Google Bard

Google Bard’s response

Google Bard ratings of itself v ChatGPT

Google Bard v ChatGPT: What I think

Interestingly, both ChatGPT and Google Bard both came to the same conclusion: that Google Bard was superior. Yep, ChatGPT told me that, based on the four factors I asked it to rate, its main rival was a better product than it was. 

I beg to differ. (Come on, get confident, stupid!). 

As things currently stand, I still prefer my old buddy ChatGPT to Google’s challenger AI. 

ChatGPT’s answers tend to be more creative and, in my opinion, much better – especially with ChatGPT4 – although, of course, they’re still far from perfect. (I’ll be pitting ChatGPT and Google Bard head to head in a writing competition shortly).

I also didn’t get much advantage from being able to export Google Bard’s answers directly to Google Docs, didn’t like the voice functionality and can’t yet upload pictures.

More importantly, with the right prompts, most of ChatGPT’s shortcomings can be worked around. And I’ve been spending enough time with ChatGPT to know how to get the most out of it.

Still, other people may find they use Google Bard’s features much more often. They may also find having to prompt ChatGPT to get the best results less than ideal. 

Another thing worth mentioning is that I come to my conclusions based purely on the perspective of a writer. For people who want their AI chatbot to code, the results may be very different.

In short…

Both ChatGPT and Google Bard have the potential to make you a better and faster writer. I’d encourage you to play around with both chatbots to see which one works best for you.

Want to discover more about writing with ChatGPT? Check out our Write, Better Faster seminars.


Ralph Grayden

Ralph Grayden

Ralph Grayden is content director at Antelope Media.