Google removed the waiting list for the artificial intelligence chatbot Bard and announced a bunch of new features.
Google has added a host of new features to its AI chatbot Bard, including new language support (Japanese and Korean), easier ways to import text to Google Docs and Gmail, the ability to code, image search, and a dark mode. Most importantly, Google has now removed the waitlist for Bard and made the chatbot available in English in 180 countries and territories.
Google Bard is now more advanced
Launched for select users in the US and UK two months ago, Bard has become more advanced and functional with its new capabilities. I can say that the chatbot, which Google emphasizes is still an experiment and will not replace the search engine, is still weak compared to its competitors such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s new Bing chatbot. However, in addition to adding many new features, Google has updated Bard to use the new PaLM 2 language model. Compared to the first version, it is definitely much more powerful and usable now.
Bard gained the ability to create images
A more interesting function is the ability to ask the system for an image. This feature is powered by Google Lens, which can identify objects in images. Google gives the example of posting a photo of your dogs with the warning “write a funny caption about these two”. Google Lens describes the breeds of dogs, and Bard writes about their traits.
Google says it will soon integrate Firefly, Adobe’s AI image generator, into Bard. This is an important development because Adobe has marketed Firefly with an emphasis on the “ethical” nature of its training data. This will also be the first of many third-party integrations for Bard. Additionally, Google promises that the system will soon connect directly to “apps from Google and great services on the web.”
Bard won’t replace Search
Both OpenAI and Microsoft are exploring how to integrate chatbots deeply into the internet. OpenAI first announced this feature for ChatGPT earlier this year, citing the use of the bot to make restaurant reservations via OpenTable or to order groceries via Instacart. Google also says it works with exactly the same services. While these new features collectively represent a major upgrade for Bard, a more existential question remains for the service: What is Bard for? While Google emphasizes that the bot is not a replacement for Search, that doesn’t stop people from using it that way.