Google says AI chatbot Bard is coming to Europe, finally

Google’s ChatGPT rival Bard will soon be accessible in Europe and Brazil, as a new expansion was announced.

On July 13th, Google stated that its AI chatbot Bard is expanding to include users in Europe and Brazil. It’s the product's biggest expansion since its February launch, and will be accompanied by the release of a handful of new features.

According to the company, Bard will support more than 40 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, and Spanish. The new features will also allow more personalized responses, granting users the ability to listen to the responses and choose the AI's tone, whether it be simple, long, short, professional, or casual.

The chatbot will also allow the use of images in the prompts. This feature is currently only supported in the English language. Starting Thursday, the company is also expanding Bard’s application for coding tasks. Users will be able to export Bard-generated Python code to Replit, in addition to Google Colab.

Coming late to Europe

In May, the company announced that the Bard chatbot was already accessible in over 180 countries and territories across the world, however, the list excluded European countries. Bard's launch in Europe was likely delayed due to insufficient details about data privacy and the European regulatory environment.

There has been a massive push to regulate AI in Europe. In spring, the EU introduced the AI Act to regulate the usage and expansion of AI technologies, ensuring that AI systems used in the EU are “safe, transparent, traceable, non-discriminatory and environmentally friendly.”

“As part of our bold and responsible approach to AI, we’ve proactively engaged with experts, policymakers, and privacy regulators on this expansion. And as we bring Bard to more regions and languages over time, we’ll continue to use our AI Principles as a guide, incorporate user feedback, and take steps to protect people’s privacy and data,” wrote the company on Thursday.

Rough start

While tech companies are racing to secure their share in the booming AI market, the main rival to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT has had a rough start. Google’s shares plummeted 9% when Bard gave inaccurate answers in a promotional video, that was presented as a demonstration of its abilities during a live press conference.

Reportedly, Google employees were instructed to get involved in identifying and fixing any wrong queries produced by the chatbot.

On the same day that news about the Bard updates dropped, Bloomberg reported that Google staff training the AI chatbot claim to be underpaid and overworked. This has raised concerns regarding the quality of the product.

Documents shared with the outlet showed that workers without specific expertise are expected to assess answers in subjects ranging from medication doses to state laws. Furthermore, they’re allegedly being instructed to meet strict deadlines for auditing answers, which can be as short as three minutes.

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