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Google plans to integrate its Bard chatbot into its applications


Google announced Tuesday that its Bard chatbot will be integrated into Gmail, YouTube and other apps in an effort to expand Alphabet’s user experience.

Google spent years refining its generative AI without immediately planning to launch a chatbot, until OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT late last year and partnered with Microsoft to popularize the cutting-edge tool. Google hastened to prepare its answer: Bard.

Google overcame hurdles earlier this year to release Bard globally in dozens of languages, outpacing European regulators who were raising questions about the chatbot’s effect on data security.

The search engine giant is now running a campaign to win public support.

These new updates – Bard Extensions – represent the company’s most ambitious attempt to popularize generative AI. In the future, Bard will be able to work as a plug-in with Google Drive, Gmail, YouTube and more.

A user can ask Bard to distill a series of long, confusing emails into a concise summary or instruct the chatbot to find the quickest route to an address using Google Maps.

The plugin can be used by students and professionals who want Bard to scan through dense PDFs and Google Docs and return a list of bullet points.

A common criticism of chatbots is their imprecision and apparent ability to falsify information. Computer scientists call this flaw “hallucinations.” The Bard plugin will include a button to check chatbot responses against search engine results in real time to determine if Bard is “hallucinating.”

Generative AI examines large databases for linguistic patterns and other information in a process called data-scraping. Data scraping allows Bard and ChatGPT to create unique, human responses to queries in an instant. Essentially, chatbots imitate what is already available on the Internet.

Activists have long feared that companies could train their chatbots on the personal information of unsuspecting users. Google said Bard would only access private data with permission.

Google also said that any data scraping it might perform on what users have stored in their personal Docs, Drive or Gmail accounts would not be used in targeted advertising or Bard training. Private content would also not be accessible to Google employees.

“You always control your privacy settings when deciding how you want to use these extensions, and you can turn them off at any time,” Google said in a blog post.

The Bard extensions come after Microsoft also incorporated ChatGPT into Bing earlier this year, but ultimately failed to gain traction in its war against Google’s search engine dominance.

According to market analyses, ChatGPT, Bard’s main competitor, has seen a marked decline in its user base as the mania for generative AI has subsided in recent months. Google hopes to capitalize on ChatGPT’s losses and allow Bard to catch up.

Some information on this story comes from Agence France-Presse.