Google’s Bard AI chatbot has just received a significant upgrade – it can now delve into your Gmail, Docs, and Drive to assist you in finding the information you need. This expanded functionality, referred to as “extensions” by Google, opens up a world of possibilities. You can now ask Bard to perform tasks like locating and summarizing an email or highlighting crucial points in a document stored in your Drive.
These extensions are designed to save you the hassle of combing through countless emails and documents to pinpoint specific information. Furthermore, Bard can take this newfound knowledge and put it to use in various ways, such as creating charts or crafting concise summaries. For the moment, this feature is available exclusively in English.
While the idea of granting Bard access to your personal emails and documents might raise privacy and data usage concerns, Google has reassured users. They won’t use this information to train Bard’s public model, and human reviewers won’t have access to it either. Importantly, you have the freedom to choose whether or not to enable the integrations with Gmail, Docs, and Drive. Google will ask for your consent, and you can disable it at any time.
To make use of this feature, Jack Krawczyk, Bard’s product lead, suggests a couple of approaches. You can instruct Bard to search directly within your Gmail by using the “@mail” prefix before your question. Alternatively, you can simply ask something like, “Check my email for information related to my upcoming flight.”
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But that’s not all – Bard’s extensions go beyond Gmail, Docs, and Drive. Google has also revealed that the chatbot will integrate with Maps, YouTube, and Google Flights. This means you can ask Bard for real-time flight updates, discover nearby attractions, uncover YouTube videos on specific topics, and much more. These three extensions will be enabled by default.
Jack Krawczyk explains, “The reason we’re starting with this experiment… is primarily because it’s the first time a language model product is truly integrating with your personal data. We want to make sure we get that right.” He goes on to reveal that Google has plans to expand Bard’s integrations to encompass “products across Google as well as partners outside of Google.”
Google has also made other notable enhancements to Bard. One of these is the addition of a “Google It” button, which allows you to double-check Bard’s responses. Previously, this button enabled you to search for topics related to Bard’s answers on Google. Now, it will indicate whether Bard’s responses are supported or contradicted by Google Search.
Verified information will be highlighted in green, while unvalidated answers will be marked in orange. Hovering over the highlighted text provides additional context on where Bard might have been accurate or missed the mark. Google is also introducing a feature that allows you to continue a conversation with Bard based on a shared link, facilitating the expansion of a discussion initiated by someone else.
Since its introduction in February, Google has been steadily enhancing Bard’s capabilities. These improvements include the ability to generate and troubleshoot code, as well as create functions for Google Sheets. Recently, Google even integrated Google Lens into Bard, enabling you to use the tool for brainstorming caption ideas for photos or obtaining more information about them.