The Great Prompt-Off: Google's AI Lands in Canada, but Will it Out Prompt ChatGPT?

by Malik Datardina, CPA, CA, CISA, GRC Strategist, Auvenir

With the rapid ascent of generative AI, people have largely been wondering how Google got beat at its own game. In response to ChatGPT, the company appeared to have rushed out Bard.  This was evident during the presentation, which not only encountered setbacks, but had a factual misstep regarding the James Webb Space Telescope highlighted the challenges Google faces in maintaining its lead in the search engine arena. This incident not only questioned Google's readiness to compete in the AI-enhanced search domain but also had tangible repercussions on its market standing, as reflected in a significant drop in its market capitalization. (See here for what I wrote previously).


Following this setback, Google rebounded by introducing Gemini, extending its generative AI to new markets, including Canada, after a notable absence.


Canadians Finally Get to Access Google’s Generative AI

Unlike most of the globe, Canadians were locked out of the search giant’s generative AI offering in 2023.  That all changed with Google’s rebranding of Bard as Gemini. As per Google’s official blog post:

“Today, we’re officially entering the next chapter of the Gemini era and we’re thrilled to invite Canadians along the journey with us. Since launching last year, Canadians have been eager to collaborate with our state-of-the-art AI models and starting today, Gemini (formerly Bard) is available in Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast, in both English and French, along with 40 other languages worldwide. Gemini is ready to ignite your productivity, supercharge your ideas, and satisfy your boundless curiosity.”

The company is offering both a free version of Gemini and paid version dubbed “Gemini Advanced”; similar to ChatGPT Plus. Google is offering the first two months for free and then it is $26.99/month after that.


The Great “Prompt-Off”: Putting to Gemini to the Test

In the spirit of “bake-offs” we see on the Food Channel, like Bobby Flay’s Throwdown, we are going to arrange a similar “prompt-off” between OpenAI’s ChatGPT (Plus) and Google’s Gemini (Advanced). Fortunately, we already tested ChatGPT to see if it could handle tasks that a remote Virtual Assistant (VA) could do, as featured in Tim Ferriss's The 4 Hour Work Week.  So now it’s Gemini’s turn to see if it can handle these tasks.

Let the prompt-off begin!


Task#1: Reminders to an Overzealous Client

Prompt: “Generate a polite email to overzealous client reminding him to pay his current parking fines, as well as not speed and collect parking fines.”


Output from ChatGPT:

“Subject: Gentle Reminder Regarding Parking Fines and Traffic Safety

Dear [Client’s Name],

I trust this email finds you well. I’m writing to bring your attention to an important matter that needs your immediate attention.

Our records indicate that there are currently some outstanding parking fines associated with your account. The total sum of the fines is [$ amount]. I understand that it can be easy to overlook these notifications, and this gentle reminder serves as a prompt to help you manage them promptly. Kindly ensure that these are settled as soon as possible to prevent any additional penalties or inconvenience.

In addition, I would like to take a moment to discuss the importance of adhering to traffic rules and regulations. The safety of all road users is paramount, and as such, it is crucial to respect speed limits and parking regulations at all times. Over-speeding and improper parking not only lead to fines but also pose risks to yourself and others. I trust that you understand the significance of this matter and will consider it moving forward.

If there are any concerns or if you require any assistance with the payment of these fines, please feel free to contact our team. We are always ready to assist and make this process as seamless as possible for you.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your commitment to safe and responsible driving.

We value your cooperation and look forward to your prompt response.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Contact Information]”


Output from Gemini:

Subject: Reminder Regarding Parking Regulations

Dear [Client Name],

I hope this email finds you well.

I'm writing to follow up on a few outstanding parking fines that have been accrued on your account. I understand things can get busy, but it's important to address these in a timely manner to avoid any additional fees or complications.

Additionally, I wanted to bring to your attention a concern regarding speeding within our parking facilities. While we appreciate your patronage, the safety of all our visitors is a top priority. Please ensure you are adhering to posted speed limits for everyone's well-being.

For your convenience, here are ways to take care of the outstanding fines:

  • [List payment options with instructions – e.g., online portal, phone number, mailing address]

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this matter.


[Your Name]

[Your Title]

[Parking Facility Name]

Commentary:  Despite their stylistic differences, both outputs share a common thread: they emphasize polite, professional communication while addressing parking fines and traffic safety, showcasing how effective messaging can achieve clarity and encourage compliance, regardless of the approach. ChatGPT, however, did not assume this email was from the Parking Facility. Instead, it understood that this was from a third-party “consultant”, who was advising a client. In contrast, Gemini not only assumed that this was from a parking facility, but also assumed that the client was speeding within the facility. Although Gemini did put instructions on how to pay the fines, it is debatable whether this is really the role of the consultant writing this. That is, it is more likely that the consultant would handle that – not the client.


Task#2: A Kid’s Guide to Tying Shoelaces

Prompt: “Write a guide for a 5 year old on how to tie their shoelaces.”


Output from ChatGPT:

Guide for Tying Shoelaces

Get Ready: Sit down on a comfy chair and put your shoe with the laces right in front of you. Make sure you’re comfortable and ready to go on a little adventure with your laces!

Make an “X”: Take one lace in each hand. Now, let’s pretend that they are two little snakes. Make the snakes play with each other by crossing them over to form the letter “X.” Then, let one snake go under the other and pull it tight. You will see a little knot. Good job!

Make the Bunny Ears: Now, let’s turn each lace into a bunny ear. To do this, take a lace and fold it so it forms a loop or a “bunny ear.” Do the same with the other lace. Now you have two bunny ears!

Cross the Bunny Ears: Next, make the bunny ears play together just like the snakes did before. Cross one bunny ear over the other to make another “X.”

Pull Through: Let one bunny ear go under the other (just like the snake did before), and then pull it through the hole that you see. Pull both bunny ears outwards until you see a pretty bow appear.

You Did It!: And there you have it! You’ve tied your shoelaces.

Remember, it might take a few tries to get it right, and that’s totally okay. The more you practice, the easier it will get. You’re doing a great job!

Remember these steps:

Snakes make an “X” and one goes under

Make bunny ears

Bunny ears make an “X,” and one goes under

Pull, and you have a bow!

Keep practicing, and soon you’ll be a shoelace-tying expert!”


Output from Gemini:

The Magical Bunny Ear Tying Trick

What you need:

  • Your shoes with laces
  • Your amazing fingers

Ready? Let's do this!

  1. The Super Cross: Take your two laces and make a big X, just like a superhero!
  2. The Bottom Bunny: Take one lace and dive it under the X. Now pull the laces tight and you've got a knot!
  3. Bunny Ear Time! Make a loop with one lace, like a fluffy bunny ear. Hold it tight with your fingers.
  4. Wrap and Loop: Take the other lace and wrap it around the bunny ear. Then push it through the little hole you made and...POOF! A second bunny ear appears!
  5. Pull the Whiskers: Grab both bunny ears and pull tight, like tugging a bunny's whiskers!

Tadaaa! You tied your shoes – you're a shoe-tying rockstar!

Extra Tips

  • Practice on a big fluffy towel before trying on your shoes.
  • Ask a grown-up to help you if you get stuck.
  • It's okay to make mistakes, just keep trying!

Let me know if you want to try another fun way to learn!

Commentary: Both ChatGPT and Gemini personify elements of shoelace tying (snakes and bunnies) to make the process engaging and accessible, emphasizing fun, imaginative steps and the importance of practice and patience in learning to tie shoelaces effectively. That is, they had an appropriate tone for a child. ChatGPT, however, provided more direction by establishing the initial pattern of making a knot (i.e. using the analogy of snakes) was similar to the next step of making bows. ChatGPT also repeated the instructions. Gemini did give helpful tips, such as reminding the child to ask grown-ups for help.


Task #3: Email to the Colorado Tourism Board

This prompt is modelled after AJ Jacobs’s request (then the ‘editor-at-large’ at Esquire magazine) to his remote VA to write an email to the Colorado Tourism Board, asking them to stop sending him requests that he found annoying.  (To see the remote VA's email, check the post on Medium).

Prompt: “You are the editor at large at Esquire. You are receiving annoying emails from the Colorado Tourism Board and want the stop sending you such emails. The recent request is around a festival in Colorado Springs featuring the world’s most famous harlequin. The emails should be exceedingly polite, but have a little undercurrent of indignation.”


Output from ChatGPT:

“Subject: Re: Invitation to Colorado Springs’ Harlequin Festival

Dear Colorado Tourism Board,

I trust this message finds you well.

I am truly appreciative of the information you consistently provide regarding the multifarious happenings in the vibrant state of Colorado. It is indeed heartening to be acquainted with your unwavering enthusiasm for promoting your beautiful region.

The recent correspondence regarding the forthcoming Harlequin Festival in Colorado Springs has been received with much interest. It sounds like an event of significant cultural importance, one that I’m sure will bring great delight to those who have the opportunity to experience it.

However, it is with a hint of regret that I must bring to your attention a small matter that has been of concern for some time now. As the Editor at Large for Esquire, my role requires a focus on a specific range of topics, and, quite honestly, the updates received from your end, although rich and informative, do not quite align with my professional needs.

While it’s always a pleasure to learn about the cultural tapestry of Colorado, the frequency and content of your emails tend to encroach upon my time and, honestly, inundate my inbox. Therefore, I kindly request that you consider removing my email address from your distribution list.

I hope this does not in any way diminish the profound respect I hold for the commendable work the Colorado Tourism Board undertakes in promoting the attractions of your state. This request is merely an attempt to better manage my inbox and maintain focus on my role’s specific requirements.

Thank you for your understanding and attention to this matter. I wish you all the success with the Harlequin Festival and other future events.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

Editor at Large,



Output from Gemini

Option 1: Concise and a Touch Formal

Subject: Unsubscribe Request - Colorado Tourism

Dear Colorado Tourism Team,

While I appreciate the enthusiasm with which you promote your state's many attractions, I must respectfully request to be removed from your email distribution list.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely, [Your Name] Editor at Large, Esquire

Option 2: Slightly Playful

Subject: A Harlequin in Colorado Springs? Intriguing...But Unsubscribe Me Please

Dear Colorado Tourism Board,

The allure of the world's most famous harlequin performing in Colorado Springs is an undeniably unique draw. However, as much as I enjoy the occasional quirky tidbit, I must unfortunately ask to be removed from your mailing list.

Best regards, [Your Name] Editor at Large, Esquire

Option 3: Indignation on Full Display

Subject: Enough is Enough, Colorado

Dear Colorado Tourism Board,

Let me be frank: I find your relentless stream of emails rather bothersome. I appreciate highlighting the unique aspects of your state, but there must be a limit. Thus, I insist you remove me from your list immediately.

Regards, [Your Name] Editor at Large, Esquire

Let me know if you'd like me to modify or mix-and-match any of these approaches!

Commentary: Looking at this as a manager dealing with two juniors on the team, one gives you a draft and the other asks for more direction regarding the request. It’s pretty obvious who is going to get a higher ranking.  Scrutinizing ChatGPT’s output we see it did largely achieve the balance between politeness and a little undercurrent of indignation. However, it did suffer from run-on sentences.


Closing thoughts:

It’s easy to pick holes at where Gemini is currently at. However, it is too early to count Google out. They have homecourt advantage due to their other service lines. For example, when you ask Gemini something you can click a button to get instant verification. Green means that the information is verified and red means it is wrong. Check out this link to see a prompt I ran with part of the ‘instant verification’ result below.

A screenshot of a computerDescription automatically generated 

In my opinion, Google’s killer advantage ultimately lies in harnessing YouTube. This vast treasure trove of data can amp up their LLM to new heights that could easily allow it to leapfrog the competition. However, the future is still unwritten, and only time will reveal who will dominate the AI race.


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