Google has announced a major expansion of its ChatGPT competitor, Google Bard. Users will now be able to ask Bard questions about information contained within their Google Workspace, as well as videos hosted on YouTube.
Although Microsoft-funded ChatGPT remains the most popular chatbot on the web, Bard has provided stiff competition since its February 2023 release, and actually performs better when presented with a number of different scenarios.
Roughly three billion people use Google Workspace worldwide in 2023, dwarfing Microsoft Office’s 270 million users.
Google Bard Extensions: What You Need to Know
Google announced the launch of Bard Extensions this week. The tech giant described it as “a completely new way to interact and collaborate with Bard” in a recently published blog post.
Bard’s new capabilities mean the chatbot is now on hand to assist users with tasks relating to information, documents, and files stored within the full suite of products and services offered by Google.
“With Extensions”, the tech giant says, “Bard can find and show you relevant information from the Google tools you use every day – like Gmail, Docs, Drive, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Flights and hotels – even when the information you need is across multiple apps and services.”
🔎 Want to browse the web privately? 🌎 Or appear as if you're in another country?
Get a huge 86% off Surfshark with this Tech.co Black Friday offer.
This will allow users cut down on the time they're spending on consuming tasks like summarizing meeting notes and building resumes.
Google explains that you can now use Bard to plan trips in a more comprehensive way, too.
For example, you could task Bard to find dates that work for everyone in your party via Gmail, source flight and accommodation information, compile Google Maps directions to and from the airport, and watch YouTube videos in order to provide sightseeing recommendations.
How to Use Google Bard Extensions
Using the new features is really simple. All you have to do is ask Bard questions, just like you normally would – the only difference being that you need to preface your question with “@[the extension you'd like to use]”.
For example, you can get Bard to scan your email inbox and find specific information by prefacing your question with “@mail”, or get it to perform a task that requires information from Google Maps by starting your query with @Google Maps.
To find and enable your Bard extensions, open Bard and click on the Extensions icon located in the top right corner of the Bard interface. This will bring you to a list of the extensions currently available to you. To access Google Workspace extensions, you'll have to be logged into your Google Workspace account.
Other Google Bard Updates
Excitingly, users will now be able to continue specific conversations with Bard after they’re been sent links to them by other users.
Another interesting update being rolled out is a “Google it” button designed to make it easier for users to check the chatbot's responses on the internet.
Users will also be able to access more of Bard’s English language features, like Search images in responses, in a wider range of languages.
Are There Any Privacy Concerns?
As a lot of companies use Google Drive to store sensitive client, customer, and employee data – and with privacy concerns a major issue for the chatbot market, it's only natural if users are a bit apprehensive about deeper integration between Bard and their Google Workspace tools.
However, Google has confirmed that Bard will not be using any Google Workspace information it has access to for training, and human reviewers won’t have access to or be able to view any information being processed by Bard.
Users can turn off Bard Extensions at any time, so it’s possible to find out what they’re capable of before you officially incorporate them into your workspace. For the billions that now have access, however, this is a very exciting development.