Google launches a smarter Bard | TechCrunch

When Google launched its Bard AI-chatbot, it didn’t compare all that favorably to the likes of Bing Chat and ChatGPT. Indeed, the launch was a bit of a disaster, with a Google ad featuring a wrong answer by Bard, briefly tanking the company’s stock by 8%. Today, at its I/O developer conference, Google is hoping to reintroduce Bard to a more favorable reception (and in a move similar to Bing Chat using OpenAI’s GPT-4 without telling anyone, Bard has similarly been using PaLM 2 for a while already as well).

This would be a good time for Bard to smarten up, too. Google is not only removing its waitlist and making Bard available to anyone in over 180 countries and territories (in English), but it’s also launching support for Japanese and Korean and promises to support 40 languages in the near future. In addition, it’s also announcing a slew of new features for Bard, including multimodal queries that can work with images, so you can use your images in a prompt or have Bard explain them to you.

Google has announced plans to introduce extensions for Bard, its language model, which will include integration with various Google apps and services like Maps, Sheets, Gmail, and Docs. Additionally, Google is collaborating with third-party partners to bring their services into Bard, with Adobe’s Firefly generative image generation service being one of the highlighted integrations. Despite Google having its own image generation service in Vertex, the inclusion of Firefly is strategic as it ensures commercial safety by using licensed or public domain images, mitigating legal risks for users and Google.

During Google’s press conference, the company revealed its intention to expand Bard’s capabilities by incorporating third-party services such as Wolfram Alpha and other providers in the future. By collaborating with external partners, Google aims to enhance the functionality and versatility of Bard, enabling users to access a broader range of tools and resources for generating diverse outputs.

Notably, Adobe’s Firefly has been chosen as one of the initial third-party integrations. While Google has its own image generation service in Vertex, Firefly’s key advantage lies in its commercial viability. Firefly’s training is based on images that Adobe has licensed or are in the public domain, ensuring legal compliance and reducing potential risks for users and platforms utilizing the technology. Although Firefly’s capabilities may be limited compared to other image generation services, its safety and adherence to copyright regulations make it a favorable choice.

Google’s decision to incorporate third-party services into Bard reflects its commitment to creating a comprehensive and secure ecosystem for users. By partnering with reputable companies like Adobe, Google aims to offer a diverse range of capabilities while maintaining legal compliance and providing a seamless user experience. As Bard continues to evolve, users can expect further integrations and collaborations that expand its functionality and bring new possibilities to the platform.


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