Google's Bard chatbot gets connectivity upgrade

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 21 Sept 2023
Google has updated its Bard AI chatbot to connect to its apps and services.
Google has updated its Bard AI chatbot to connect to its apps and services.

Google is boosting its Bard generative artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot by giving it access to several of the company’s most popular apps, such as Gmail, Maps and YouTube.

In a blog post, Google says the updates make this “the most capable version yet”, and it will also have an improved “Google it” feature to double-check Bard’s answers.

Connecting Bard to Google apps means the chatbot can now find and show users relevant information from the apps. For example, if planning a trip, the user can now ask Bard to grab suitable dates from Gmail, and look up real-time flight and hotel information.

Google has also expanded 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.

Users can continue conversations that are shared through a public link on Bard, and ask the chatbot additional questions about that topic, or use it as a starting point for their own ideas.

Google says it is committed to keeping users’ personal information private, and those who choose to use the Workspace extensions will not have their content seen by human reviewers, used by Bard to show ads or be used to train the Bard model.

“You’re always in control of your privacy settings when deciding how you want to use these extensions, and you can turn them off at any time.”

Google says Bard is now more equipped to get users’ ideas off the ground. “So, whether you want to collaborate on something creative, start in one language and continue in one of 40+ others, or ask for in-depth coding assistance, Bard can now respond with even greater quality and accuracy.”

The changes are possible because of upgrades to its language model, PaLM 2.

PaLM 2 functions as a large language model that performs advanced tasks, such as coding and math, classification and question answering, translation and multilingual proficiency, and natural language generation.

As the move to AI intensifies, many tech players are looking to improve their AI tools, while still complying with international regulations, such as the European Union’s AI Act.

Most recently, OpenAI released an updated version of its ChatGPT generative AI tool. The update includes new features such as prompt examples at the beginning of a new chat, suggested replies, the ability to ask ChatGPT to analyse the data of multiple files, the capability to stay logged in for longer and keyboard shortcuts for faster use of the AI chatbot.

X Corp CEO Elon Musk launched his own AI firm in July, called xAI, which he said is going to challenge ChatGPT.

Meta and Microsoft in July partnered to open their AI model Llama 2 for commercial use. Llama 2 is a free-to-use model that enables developers and organisations to build generative AI-powered tools and experiences.