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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Google allows chatbot Bard to access Gmail, YouTube

Google says giving its AI chatbot Bard greater access to users' Gmail, Maps and YouTube accounts will improve its service.

Google is introducing Bard, its artificially intelligent chatbot, to other members of its digital family — including Gmail, Maps and YouTube — as it seeks to ward off competitive threats.

Bard's expanded capabilities announced on Tuesday will be provided through an extension that will enable users to allow the chatbot to mine information embedded in their Gmail accounts as well as pull directions from Google Maps and find helpful videos on YouTube. 

The extension will also open a door for Bard to fetch travel information from Google Flights and extract information from documents stored on Google Drive.

Google is promising to protect users' privacy by prohibiting human reviewers from seeing the potentially sensitive information that Bard gets from Gmail or Drive.

The company is also promising the data won't used as part of the main way it makes money — selling ads tailored to people's interests.

The expansion is the latest development in an escalating AI battle triggered by the popularity of OpenAI's ChatGPT chatbot and Microsoft's push to infuse similar technology in its Bing search engine and its Microsoft 365 suite that includes its Word, Excel and Outlook applications.

ChatGPT prompted Google to release Bard broadly in March and then start testing the use of more conversational AI within its own search results in May.

Giving Bard access to a trove of personal information and other popular services such as Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube, in theory, will make them even more helpful and prod more people to rely on them.

Google, for instance, posits that Bard could help a user planning a group trip by getting dates that would work for everyone, spelling out different flight and hotel options, providing directions from Maps and presenting an array of informative videos from YouTube.


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