In March, Google released an artificial intelligence chatbot called Bard. It was Google’s answer to OpenAI’s very popular ChatGPT.
But Bard used a less sophisticated AI than ChatGPT. It came across as less capable and less conversational. Within a few weeks, Google redesigned the tool with improved technology, but ChatGPT continued to be the chatbot that grabbed the public’s attention.
On Tuesday, Google unveiled a plan to leapfrog ChatGPT by connecting Bard to its most popular consumer services, such as Gmail, Docs and YouTube. With the new features, Google has taken a step toward connecting Bard to the company’s vast constellation of online products.
Although Bard hasn’t gotten as much attention as ChatGPT, Google’s AI tool has also made the chatbot a very close contender. Bard has not received the same attention as ChatGPT. As of August, ChatGPT had nearly 1.5 billion desktop and mobile web visits, more than three times more than Google’s AI tool and other competitors. data from Similarweba data analysis company.
Still, Jack Krawczyk, Google’s product lead for Bard, said in an interview that Google is aware of the issues that have limited its chatbot’s appeal. “It’s neat and fresh, but it doesn’t really integrate into my personal life,” Mr. Krawczyk told the company’s users.
The release of what Google calls Bard Extensions follows OpenAI announcement in March ChatGPT plugins that allow the chatbot to access updated information and third-party services from other companies, including Expedia, Instacart and OpenTable.
With the latest updates, Google will try to replicate some of its search engine’s capabilities by incorporating flights, hotels and maps to help users research travel and transportation. And Bard may come closer to being a more personalized helper for users, allowing them to ask which emails they missed and what the most important points of a document are.
AI chatbots are widely known to offer not only correct information but also falsehoods, a phenomenon known as “hallucinations”. Users have no way to determine what is true and what is not.
Google believes it has taken a step toward solving these problems by redesigning the “Google It” button on Bard’s website, which allowed users to search Google for questions they asked the chatbot.
Now the button will recheck Bard’s responses. When Google has high confidence in a claim and can back it up with evidence, it will highlight the text in green and link to another website that backs up the information. When Google can’t find facts to support a claim, the text is highlighted in orange instead.
“We’re really committed to making Bard more trustworthy by not only showing confidence in our response, but admitting when we make a mistake,” Mr. Krawczyk said.
Various tech companies have poured billions of dollars into developing the so-called large language models that underlie Bard and other chatbots, systems that need vast amounts of data to learn. This has raised concerns about how companies like Google use consumer information.
The company tried to allay concerns about how Bard would use the information.
“We are committed to protecting your personal information,” Yury Pinsky, director of product management at Bard, wrote in a blog post. “If you choose to use the Workspace extension, your content from Gmail, Docs, and Drive won’t be seen by human reviewers, Bard won’t use it to serve ads, or train Bard’s model.”
Mr. Krawczyk said Bard would protect user privacy, though he declined to comment on how other Google services use this type of data.
Google also updated Bard’s core AI, Pathways Language Model 2. It expanded the feature that allows users to upload images in more than 40 languages. And Google lets users share Bard’s conversations with each other, so they can see the answers and ask the chatbot more questions about the topic.
Although Bard can be used by people in more than 200 countries and territories, Google still calls the tool an “experiment” rather than a full product.
“This is still the early days of this technology,” Mr. Krawczyk said, “and it has deep capabilities, but it needs to be well understood by the people using it.”