Google links Bard with Gmail, other apps

Google said Bard, its generative AI, will be able to analyze users’ personal Google data as the tech giant scrambles to catch up to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in popularity.

As Google seeks to gain ground in the fast-moving AI space, the tech giant is rolling out Bard Extensions, enabling users to import their data from other Google products such as Gmail, Docs, and Drive. Google’s generative AI will also allow users to get real-time info from Google Maps, YouTube, and other apps.

For instance, users could ask Bard to search their files in Google Drive or provide a summary of the user’s Gmail inbox. For now, Bard users will only be able to pull information from Google apps, but Google is working with external companies to connect their applications into Bard in the future, Google senior product director Jack Krawczyk said.

Another new feature in Bard seeks to alleviate a nagging problem for generative AI: inaccurate responses known as “hallucinations,” a term used in AI research to describe situations when AI systems create something that looks very convincing but has no basis in the real world.

According to Google, to minimize the impact of AI hallucinations, Bard users will be able to see which parts of Bard’s answers differ from and agree with Google search results.

“We are presenting (Bard) in a way that it admits when it’s not confident,” Krawczyk said, explaining that the intention is to build users’ trust in generative AI through holding Bard accountable.

A third new feature allows users to invite others into Bard conversations. According to Google, when someone shares a Bard conversation with a user, they’ll be able to continue that conversation in their account.

Last year’s release of ChatGPT, a chatbot from Microsoft-backed OpenAI, sparked a race in the tech industry to give consumers access to generative AI technology. At the time, ChatGPT was the fastest-growing consumer application ever and is now one of the top 30 websites in the world.

Bard has not taken off in the same way. It received 183 million visits in August, just 13% of what ChatGPT received, according to website analytics firm Similarweb reviewed by Reuters.

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