Bard (Google Bard)

What Is Bard?

Google Bard is a conversational AI chatbot that uses machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and generative AI to understand user prompts and provide text responses. Unlike ChatGPT, Bard has the ability to access the Internet and include information scraped from recently-published content in responses.

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Bard was initially trained with a large language model (LLM) called Google LaMDA. In May 2023, Bard was re-trained with a new LLM called Pathways Language Model 2 (PaLM 2). According to Google, PaLM 2 can process information up to 500 times faster than LaMDA and is up to 10 times more accurate.

Feature Bard with LaMDA Bard with PaLM 2
Training Data 137 billion parameters 1.3 trillion parameters
Training Algorithm Transformer-XL Pathways
Internet Access No Yes

What Can Google Bard Do?

Here are some examples of what Google Bard trained with PaLM 2 can do:

  • Understand and respond to prompts in English, Japanese, and Korean;
  • Answer questions in detail;
  • Retain context for a limited number of prompts and/or a limited amount of time;
  • Generate original text in multiple text formats;
  • Generate text in different writing styles;
  • Rephrase or summarize a long text prompt;
  • Follow a URL in a prompt and summarize the content on a web page;
  • Generate charts from detailed text prompts;
  • Generate code in Python, Java, and C++;
  • Generate Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).

Who Can and Can’t Use Google Bard

Google Bard is available to anyone who has a free Google account or fee-based Google Workspace account and is at least 18 years old. (It is unclear how Google determines whether someone using Bard is at least 18 years old.)

Bard is subject to both Google Terms of Service and Google Generative AI Additional Terms of Service. Users are prohibited from using Bard to develop their own machine-learning models or related technology.

Currently, the chatbot can be used by Google account holders in over 180 countries and territories. It is worth noting, however, that Bard is not available in the European Union (EU) or Canada due to regulatory concerns in those regions.

Google Bard and Privacy

When users interact with Bard, Google collects their conversations, location, and usage metrics and solicits optional thumbs up/thumbs down feedback for responses. According to Google, this data is used to improve the chatbot’s accuracy and usefulness.

Conversations are stored by default for up to 18 months, but chatbot users can change the default by clicking on “Bard Activity.” Google Bard also gives users the option to review their chat history and delete individual conversations at any time.

The EU AI Act, a regulatory proposal introduced in May 2023, has inspired increased interest in the need for Google to be more transparent about how the data Bard collects is stored, accessed, and shared.

Proponents of the legislation are hoping to align AI governance initiatives with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a comprehensive set of data protection rules and regulations that provides individuals with greater control over their personal data.

How to Use Bard

Here are the steps Google account holders need to take in order to try Bard:

  1. Go to the Bard website: https://bard.google.com;
  2. Sign into a personal Google or Google Workspace account;
  3. Type a prompt in the web page’s text box;
  4. Rate the response (note: This step is optional);
  5. Export the prompt and response to an email address or Google Document (note: This step is optional);
  6. Click on the “Google It” button to see related searches (note: This step is also optional).
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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.