Google announced a major upgrade to its Bard conversational AI system today, expanding its capabilities to connect with Google’s most popular productivity apps and services. The enhancements are aimed at making Bard more useful in day-to-day tasks while also addressing concerns about accuracy.
Starting today, Bard can now directly access information from apps like Gmail, Docs, Maps, Flights, and YouTube to provide more comprehensive and personalized responses within a conversation. For example, when planning a trip, Bard can now automatically pull relevant dates, flight info, directions and sightseeing recommendations — all within one conversation.
The upgrade comes after Bard’s underwhelming public launch in March, which showcased factual inaccuracies in many of its responses. Google is hoping the integration with its search engine will help Bard become more accurate. Users can now click a “Google it” button to fact-check Bard’s responses against indexed web information within the chat.
Google emphasized that it remains committed to protecting users’ personal information following the update. If someone chooses to use the Workspace extensions, their content from Gmail, Docs, and Drive is not seen by human reviewers, used by Bard to show them ads, or used to train the Bard model. Users remain in control of their privacy settings.
The company has also made it easier to build on others’ conversations with Bard. Starting today, when someone shares a Bard chat with a user through a public link, the receiving individual can continue the conversation and ask Bard additional questions about that topic or use it as a starting point for their own ideas.
Google is also expanding access to existing English language features such as the ability to upload images with Lens, get Search images in responses, and modify Bard’s responses to more than 40 languages.
While still limited, Bard’s new features point to a future where AI assistants can seamlessly blend conversational abilities with services like email and documents to boost productivity. As Bard continues to improve, it may further integrate with other Google offerings like calendar, photos and analytics.
The Bard upgrades roll out starting today. Google plans to add more languages and integrations in the coming months as it continues to refine the technology responsibly.
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