Google has rolled out several updates for its new AI chatbot called Bard. The updates include adding extensions that connect Bard to other Google services like Gmail, Docs, YouTube, and Maps. This allows Bard to access information from a user’s account on those platforms. The move shows Google is continuing to experiment with artificial intelligence as a next step in improving information search and retrieval.
Initial Impressions of the New Features Are Underwhelming
My first interactions with the new extensions for Bard have been somewhat underwhelming so far. The idea of an AI assistant that can summarize emails or find documents sounds promising. However, in practice, the features seem buggy, misunderstand requests frequently, and sometimes make up information. While some tasks like gathering general information on a topic worked decently, anything requiring nuance or specifics was a struggle for Bard. The technology still seems very experimental.
Important Privacy Considerations Before Using Any AI Chatbot
It’s crucial to think about privacy before using any AI chatbot, including Bard. Google claims human reviewers don’t see your content from Gmail, Docs or Drive when using Bard. The company also says your information isn’t used to personalize ads or train Bard’s underlying AI model. However, you have to decide if those assurances are enough for you to feel comfortable granting an AI access to your personal data. It’s wise to approach cautiously.
How to Turn on Extensions and Use Bard effectively
To use Bard, you need a Google account. Once logged in, you can visit Bard’s website and turn on individual extensions for Google services. Make sure to tag requests with @gmail, @docs etc. so Bard knows where to search. Ask for help finding old emails on specific topics, summaries of unread messages, or feedback on writing. But double-check any information, as Bard often hallucinates responses. For now, traditional search is still the best option for precision.