Bard to be combined with Google products like Gmail and YouTube in latest upgrade

Google said that its AI-powered chatbot Bard will be integrated into apps such as Gmail, Docs, YouTube, and even Flights, to create Bard Extensions

September 19, 2023 03:31 pm | Updated 04:46 pm IST

Google announced the Bard Extensions upgrade this month [File]

Google announced the Bard Extensions upgrade this month [File] | Photo Credit: Reuters

Google announced on September 15 that it is upgrading its AI-powered chatbot Bard by combining it with apps such as Gmail, Docs, YouTube, and Flights so that users can get a more helpful and multimodal experience called Bard Extensions.

“We are for the first time combining the magical power of generative AI with the Google apps you use every day - so Gmail, Docs, YouTube, Flights and more,” said Amar Subramanya, Google’s VP for Bard, at a press briefing.

Subramanya used the example of planning a family holiday to explain how Bard Extensions could help users find the cheapest flight tickets, choose the best hotels, and discover kid-friendly activities, by letting Bard work with the relevant apps instead of users having to track down the needed information across Google’s products.

Bard will automatically determine the best extensions for each user request and Subramanya said that privacy was a “key tenet” of the new update. The information from Gmail, Docs, and Drive entered into Workspace Extensions will be shared transparently with users, and only the necessary extensions will be called. Furthermore, the submitted content will not be seen by human reviewers, used for machine learning, or used to show ads, Subramanya said.

(For top technology news of the day, subscribe?to our tech newsletter Today’s Cache)

Other Bard updates included a new ‘Google it’ button which will attempt to fight AI hallucination by allowing users to make the chatbot double check its English-language responses and link answers to resources which corroborate the same. Bard will also be able to respond with images, and build on existing chatbot conversations that are shared with other collaborators.

Subramanya acknowledged that hallucination, a phenomenon where large language models (LLMs) confidently serve up false responses, was a “hard research problem” but said progress had been made in the past six to eight months since Bard’s release.

In response to The Hindu’s question about Bard generating almost verbatim excerpts of works such as published novels, and the protection of these copyrighted materials, Subramanya said that Google was still in the early stages of developing generative AI but that the company was taking a “bold and responsible approach” when bringing this technology to users.

“Today, when Bard does produce a response where there are a number of words [or] when the number of words in the span is more than, I believe, 160 characters coming from a particular source on the web, we do cite that source very clearly in the body UI so that as a user, it’s very clear to you where the content may be coming from. Then you can go to that source and explore further,” he said.

Google has been sued in the U.S. this year by multiple plaintiffs who alleged that the company illegally scraped their creative data for its AI products. One author said Bard could re-generate parts of their work almost down to the last word.

Subramanya also pointed to Bard’s new “Google it” button as a way to lead users to the copyrighted works which are mentioned in chatbot responses, but did not detail how Bard would implement copyright protection measures.

Bard can currently handle more than 40 languages and covers about 180 countries, according to the company. Bard Extensions will be available to users with Google consumer accounts, rather than enterprise accounts.

It will likely co-exist with other AI-powered products and features such as Google’s Duet, said Subramanya.

The search engine giant is facing a significant antitrust trial in the U.S., as the Department of Justice alleged that Google came to dominate the search market by making its product the default across devices and pushing out competitors.

Google has denied these claims and said that users migrated to its search engine and browsers because the company offered a better product than rivals.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.