September 30, 2023

Google Bard Is Dropping the Waitlist and Adding Plugins

Sissie Hsiao on stage at Google IO 2023 discussing Bard

Google Bard first arrived earlier this year as the company’s response to ChatGPT, Bing Chat, and other AI assistants. Today at Google I/O, the company showed off several improvements coming to Bard.

During today’s event, Google discussed PaLM 2, the latest version of the AI model that powers Bard. Google is still unique here, as ChatGPT, Bing, and most other AI chatbots right now use a variation of GPT 3.5 or GPT 4 from OpenAI. We weren’t impressed with the initial version of Bard, but Google says the latest rounds of improvements should provide better answers. Bard is now using the latest available AI model.

Table from Google Bard

Google is also improving the interface and answer formatting for Bard. The company is improving support for writing and formatting code, with inline citations (e.g. a link to a GitHub repository where a block of code came from) and the ability to export code to other services. There’s also a dark mode option now, and formatting like tables should be more reliable. Google Lens integration is also in the works, giving Bard the ability to recognize objects in images and use that context in answers.

The waitlist for Bard is also being removed, so anyone with a Google account should be able to try it out. There are still limitations on where Bard is available and what languages it can understand.

Google Lens image in Bard

Finally, Google revealed that it is adding “tools” to Bard, like the plugins feature in development for ChatGPT and Bing Chat. Google revealed a tool for generating AI images from Adobe Firefly, similar to the image generation feature in Bing Chat. Tools from Spotify, Instacart, Walmart, YouTube, Google Calendar, Tripadvisor, Redfin, and others are in development.

The company said in a blog post, “Looking ahead, we’ll introduce new ways to fuel your imagination and curiosity by integrating the capabilities of Google apps and services you may already use — Docs, Drive, Gmail, Maps and others — right into the Bard experience. And of course, you’ll always be in control of your privacy settings when deciding how you want to use these tools and extensions.”

Google Bard is rolling out a dark mode and new export options today, with more precise citations coming next week. The rest of the announced features, like tools, don’t have a firm timeline right now.

Source: Google, YouTube

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