For the past two months, anybody wanting to try out Google’s new chatbot AI, Bard, had to first register their interest and join a waitlist before being granted access. On Wednesday, the company announced that those days are over. Bard will immediately be dropping the waitlist requirement as it expands to 180 additional countries and territories. What’s more, this expanded Bard will be built atop Google’s newest Large Language Model, PaLM 2, making it more capable than ever before.
Google hurriedly released the first generation Bard back in February after OpenAI’s ChatGPT came out of nowhere and began eating the industry’s collective lunch like Gulliver in a Lilliputian cafeteria. Matters were made worse when Bard’s initial performances proved less than impressive — especially given Google’s generally accepted status at the forefront of AI development — which hurt both Google’s public image and its bottom line. In the intervening months, the company has worked to further develop PaLM, the language model that essentially powers Bard, allowing it to produce better quality and higher-fidelity responses, as well as perform new tasks like generating programming code.
As Google executives announced at the company’s I/O 2023 keynote on Wednesday, Bard has been switched over to then new PaLM 2 platform. As such, users can expect a bevy of new features and functions to roll out in the coming days and weeks. Features like a higher degree of visual responses to your queries, so when you ask for “must see sights” in New Orleans, you’ll be presented with images of the sites you’d see, more than just a bullet list or text-based description. Conversely, users will be able to more easily input images to Bard alongside their written queries, bringing Google Lens capabilities to Bard.
Even as Google mixes and matches AI capabilities amongst its products — 25 new offerings running on PaLM 2 are being announced today alone — the company is looking to ally with other industry leaders to further augment Bard’s abilities. Google announced on Wednesday that it is partnering with Adobe to bring its Firefly generative AI to Bard as a means to counter Microsoft’s BingChat-DallE2 offering.
Finally, Google shared that it will be implementing a number of changes and updates in response to feedback received from the community since launch. Clicking on a line of generated code or chatbot answer and Bard will provide a link to that specific bit’s source. There will be a new Dark theme. And, the company is working to add an export feature so that users can easily run generated programming code on Replit or toss their generated works into Docs or Gmail.
Follow all of the news from Google I/O 2023 right here.