Google on Tuesday announced a series of updates to Google Bard that will give the AI chatbot access to Google’s full suite of tools — including YouTube, Google Drive, Google Flights and others. These new integrations are meant to assist users in a wider variety of tasks.
This marks the biggest expansion of Bard since its public debut just 6 months ago. Google is racing against Microsoft, OpenAI and others vying for AI dominance. While critics remain skeptical, the search giant is demonstrating Bard’s potential to become far more than just a novelty chatbot.
Bard to Gain Direct Access to YouTube, Maps, Flights and More
Google Bard can now tap directly into data from other Google platforms to deliver more robust assistance. This includes pulling relevant info from YouTube, Google Maps, Flights, Hotels and more to help with planning and research.
For example, users can ask Bard to recommend trip destinations complete with flight/hotel bookings surfaced from Google services. The AI can also take notes from your Gmail to assist with event planning or analyze Docs to summarize key details.
Linking Bard Across Google Workplace Apps (Opt-In)
Additionally, users can optionally connect personal Google Workspace apps like Gmail, Drive and Docs. This allows Bard to scan your content and provide personalized help, like checking lease terms in Drive or drafting summaries.
Google states Workspace data is not used for Bard training or ads and permission can be withdrawn anytime. But the integration represents a big step towards Bard acting as a digital assistant across your Google activity.
Other Google Bard Upgrades Include Accuracy Checks and Sharing
Google acknowledges that AI like Bard still make factual mistakes (hallucinations), so a new “double check” feature highlights responses and verifies them against Search results. Users can also share conversations with others to continue an AI chat in collab mode.
This expansion allows Bard to move beyond just conversational queries to acting on your behalf across Google’s ecosystem. The vision is for Bard to become an indispensable AI agent enhancing productivity and organization.
Concerns Around Data Privacy Remain
However, deep ties between Google Bard and Google services raise fresh privacy concerns. Is the convenience worth letting an AI mine your personal data and digital trail? Can Google ensure your information stays private?
While opt-in, the seamless connections may tempt users to overshare beyond what’s prudent. Caution is still warranted as Bard evolves to more proactively access your digital life on behalf of “helping.”
Nonetheless, Google reiterates users maintain control over data access. The search leader stresses that unlike rivals, it prioritizes responsible AI development to avoid potential harms.
Only rigorous testing and refinement will reveal whether Bard’s touted benefits materialize without unacceptable risks. But the rapid pace of upgrades signals Google’s ambitions for the AI as a digital assistant unlike any other.