Google’s AI assistant can now read your emails, plan trips, “double-check” answers


On Tuesday, Google announced updates to its Google Bard AI assistant—its model of ChatGPT—together with integration with Google apps (resembling Gmail, Docs, Drive, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Flights) and a characteristic to double-check Bard’s solutions in opposition to net content material. It additionally added language assist for over 40 languages.

Notably, Bard’s new “double-check button” has been designed to supply a counter in opposition to confabulations the place Bard produces inaccurate info or makes issues up (an idea usually referred to as “hallucinations” within the AI subject). It is a public admission that Bard usually lacks accuracy and is not a reliable factual reference. This is how Google describes it:

Beginning as we speak with responses in English, you need to use Bard’s “Google it” button to extra simply double-check its solutions. While you click on on the “G” icon, Bard will learn the response and consider whether or not there may be content material throughout the net to substantiate it. When a press release will be evaluated, you possibly can click on the highlighted phrases and be taught extra about supporting or contradicting info discovered by Search.

To make use of the double-check characteristic, customers can click on a small “G” emblem beneath Bard’s outcomes. Bard will search the net and spotlight sentences in its output that match affirmatively with a inexperienced spotlight. Bard statements that contradict Google Search outcomes get a peach-colored spotlight. From our experiments, the double-check button strengthened some statements however didn’t at all times catch logical flaws in its output.

Elsewhere, the updates additionally introduce Bard Extensions, that are opt-in options that permit the AI assistant to tug from Google’s different companies and combine them right into a Bard dialog. For instance, Bard can learn by way of your emails saved in Gmail and pull dates for planning a visit or summarize a resume doc saved in Google Drive. Google says that Bard also can pull real-time flight and resort info, present Google Maps instructions to an airport, or counsel YouTube movies a few matter.

A screenshot of switches that turn on and off certain Bard app extensions.
Enlarge / A screenshot of switches that activate and off sure Bard app extensions.

Benj Edwards

Because the AI mannequin may doubtlessly be studying delicate info or paperwork, Google says it’s addressing privacy concerns by stating that content material from Gmail, Docs, and Drive is not going to be considered by human reviewers, and it’ll not be used to indicate advertisements or prepare future variations of the Bard AI mannequin. It is price emphasizing that the brand new Extensions will be turned on or off for every app integration utilizing switches situated in a brand new “Extensions” tab within the Bard interface.

Whereas some specialists assume (and our own tests have proven) that Google Bard is arguably much less succesful than OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 subscription AI assistant, Google’s capability to attract on its app integrations is a characteristic OpenAI cannot match—though ChatGPT’s plugins can serve related capabilities in some circumstances. Microsoft can also be engaged on app integrations by way of its AI Copilot platform.

Google says its new updates are nonetheless powered by Google’s PaLM 2 language mannequin, despite the fact that a launch of a way more highly effective AI mannequin referred to as Gemini has been rumored to be imminent.

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