Google announces new Bard features as traffic continues to lag ChatGPT


FILE PHOTO: BARD logo is seen in this illustration taken March 31, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google said on Tuesday that Bard, its generative artificial intelligence, will have the ability to fact-check its answers and analyze users' personal Google data as the tech giant scrambles to catch up to ChatGPT in popularity.

The release last year of ChatGPT, a chatbot from Microsoft-backed OpenAI, sparked a race in the tech industry to give consumers access to generative AI technology. At the time, ChatGPT was the fastest-growing consumer application ever and is now one of the top 30 websites in the world.

Bard has not taken off in the same way. In August, it received 183 million visits, 13% of what ChatGPT received, according to website analytics firm Similarweb.

As it seeks to gain ground in the fast-moving AI space, Google is rolling out Bard Extensions, enabling users to import their data from other Google products. For instance, users could ask Bard to search their files in Google Drive or provide a summary of the user’s Gmail inbox. For now, Bard users will only be able to pull information in from Google apps, but Google is working with external companies to connect their applications into Bard in the future, Google senior product director Jack Krawczyk said.

Another new feature in Bard seeks to alleviate a nagging problem for generative AI: inaccurate responses known as “hallucinations”. Bard users will be able to see which parts of Bard’s answers differ from and agree with Google search results.

“We are presenting (Bard) in a way that it admits when it's not confident,” Krawczyk said, explaining that the intention is to build users’ trust in generative AI through holding Bard accountable.

A third new feature allows users to invite others into Bard conversations.

(Reporting by Anna Tong in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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