Chinese internet giant Baidu (百度, Nasdaq: BIDU, 09888.HK) has secured the approval from the authorities to open its much-anticipated chatbot service Ernie Bot to the general public, starting August 31, Chinese media outlet The Paper reported today.
This came more than five months after the ChatGPT-like generative AI tool was released.
Users can now download Ernie Bot from Apple’s App Store and Android app store, or access the service on the official website of Ernie Bot.
According to Baidu, it will also roll out a batch of reconfigured AI applications, to allow users to “fully experience the four core capabilities of generative AI,” including comprehension, generation, logic and memorizing.
After Ernie Bot is open to hundreds of millions of internet users, Ernie Bot will gather a large amount of real-world feedback, said Robin Li, founder, chairman and CEO of Baidu.
He added that this will herald further improvements and updates to the large language model underpinning Ernie Bot, creating a better user experience.
When Ernie Bot made its debut in May and was open to the public on a trial basis, Baidu was swamped with ridicule for a string of defects inherent in its underlying LLM.
Apart from Baidu, chatbot tools developed by ByteDance (字节跳动), SenseTime (商汤科技), Baichuan Intelligence (百川智能), Zhipu AI (智谱华章) and Zidong Taichu (紫东太初), which is affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, were among the first batch of LLMs allowed to go live and serve the public under a set of temporary regulations on generative AI services.
The regulations were passed by the Cyberspace Administration of China on May 23.
Baichuan Intelligence, a LLM startup founded by Wang Xiaochuan, ex-CEO of search engine company Sogou (搜狗), also announced in the wee hours of today that it has been officially sanctioned to open its chatbot application to the public.
At the close of trading of US stock exchanges, Baidu shares rose 3.11% to US$145.08 apiece, with a market cap of US$50.72 billion.