What is Bard and how to access it?

A prompt that says "Bard can..." with a list of actions Google Bard can perform.
Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Bard is Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot that generates responses to natural language messages entered by users. In response to a prompt, Bard may collect information from the Internet and respond. The large language model behind Bard provides the answer in natural language – unlike a standard Google search, where the result consists of a snippet of information or a list of links.

SEE: Discover how ChatGPT and other generative AI tools can help you be more productive.

Google announced Bard in February 2023 after both OpenAI and Microsoft drew attention to AI chatbot systems. And in May 2023, Bard and related AI progress featured prominently at the Google I/O event.

According to Sundar PichaiGoogle and Alphabet CEO Bard “experimental conversational AI service”.

In fact, Google puts the word “Experimental” next to the system name to indicate that it is still in progress. Additionally, Google indicates that “Bard may display inaccurate or offensive information that does not represent the views of Google” in a disclaimer below the warning box.


What can Google Bard be used for?

Bard’s instant response process helps you get answers faster than a standard Google search sequence.

A classic Google search requires you to enter keywords, follow links, review content, and then compile the results, or repeat the process with a refined keyword search string.

SEE: Check out these Google Bard search tips.

Use Bard to type a prompt and then review the response. If the answer is not exactly what you want, you have four options:

  • See other drafts for alternative format answers.
  • Regenerate the response to create a new response.
  • Follow with another prompt.
  • Switch to search with the Google it button.

Bard can handle all kinds of tasks, but many of the most common uses fall into the skill categories detailed below.

Google Bard can summarize it

As a large language model, Bard can summarize text well. For example, enter a link to a web page and ask Bard to summarize the content, such as:

Please summarize ​​

You can also suggest a specific length if you want a degree of brevity, such as “Please summarize in 100 words.”

Google Bard can compare

Bard can compare two or more items. In many cases, when you ask Bard to compare things, it displays some of the data in a table. For example, if you ask Bard:

Compare a Pixel 7, Pixel 7a and Samsung Galaxy S23.

Similarly, you can ask Bard to compare websites.

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Google Bard can suggest

Bard can serve as a recommendation engine for products, services or activities. Enter the titles of books, music or movies you want, then ask Bard to suggest others. This can be useful if you are looking for unfamiliar topics. For example, you can try:

I am interested in learning the history of machine learning. Can you recommend 10 useful and highly respected books on the topic?

Google Bard can explain

If you want to learn about a topic or historical event, you can ask a Bard to explain it. If you like, you can suggest a desired level to guide the system towards an easier to understand or more detailed explanation. For a general overview of the core technology that powers Bard, you can:

Can you explain the basics of how neural networks operate? Explain it to me as if I am in my first year of college.

Google Bard can give you ideas

One of the best uses of a chatbot is to gather a long list of ideas. Ask Bard to “Spend ideas…” and then enter the topic you want, such as a new project, promotion, or paper. Encourage Bard to come up with creative, unusual, or imaginative ideas to add variety to the answers.

Google Bard can code and debug

In April 2023, Bard added the ability to help build and debug mist in more than 20 programming languages. When requesting code, be sure to specify your programming language and describe the required code in as much detail as possible. If the generated code doesn’t work, let Bard know exactly what went wrong and ask for a fix or help interpreting the error code.

SEE: Explore other improvements to Google Bard.

Bard can outline text

Bard can also help with writing. As with most prompts, provide as much detail as possible about your topic, length, format (blog post, poem, essay, book review, etc.), and style. If you have a rough outline of a blog post, you can include the points you want in the prompt. For example, for this passage, you might ask:

Using the following points as an outline, can you draft examples and explanatory text? "Bard can summarize. Bard can compare. Bard can suggest. Bard can explain. Bard can brainstorm. Bard can draft text. Bard can code (and debug). Bard can search."

The responses generated by Bard were reasonable and could only use a little editing and correction for usability.

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Google makes it easy to relocate Bard text. Click the Export Reply button to move the content to a new Google Doc or Gmail. Alternatively, select the More button (the three vertical dots) and then select Copy to place the response text on the system clipboard and paste it into the application of your choice.

Bard can search

Because Bard accesses Internet content, many traditional keyword searches also work in Bard. Ask about current news, weather forecasts, or almost any standard keyword search string. However, Bard mostly provides answers in plain text, sometimes with images, while Google Search can display content in a custom format (e.g., weather forecasts often display charts). When searching for a set of links, switch back from Bard to a normal Google search.

Bard could be wrong

Bard can screw things up. Never rely solely on the content provided in Bard’s responses without verification. If Bard gives you an inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate answer, select the dislike icon to let the system know that you gave the wrong answer. Remember, Bard is an experiment.

When was Google Bard released?

At launch in March 2023, Google limited Bard access to people with personal Google accounts through a waiting list. In early May 2023, Google ended the waiting list and made Bard more widely available.

How to access Google Bard?

To access Bard, open the address in a web browser and sign in with a Google account (Figure A).

Figure A

Open bard.google.com in any modern browser and sign in with your Google account.
Open bard.google.com in any modern browser and sign in with your Google account.

If your account is managed by a Google Workspace administrator, such as a work or school account, the administrator can change settings to allow or deny access to Bard. If you have any questions, contact your system administrator.

If you’re a Google Workspace administrator and want to review or change settings that affect the availability of Bard to people in your organization, go to Admin Console | Applications | More Google services | Early access apps, then change service state and basic data access permissions as needed.

In which countries and languages ​​is Google Bard available?

As of May 10, 2023, Google has expanded Bard to support Japanese and Korean in addition to American English. In parallel, it was created by Google Bard available in more than 180 countries and territories. However, Bard was not available for those living in European Union countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain on this date. By the end of 2023, Google wants to make Bard available in the 40 most spoken languages.

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Can I manage my Bard activity history?

Yes, Google monitors your Bard’s activity history, just like your search and browsing history. To change your settings, select Bard Activity from the left menu. You can then choose to have Bard activity history on or off (Figure B).

Figure B

While access to past notifications can be useful, Google has full control over whether or not Bard Activity history is stored.
While access to past notifications can be useful, Google has full control over whether or not Bard Activity history is stored.

When turned on, you can choose to automatically delete activities after three, 18, or 36 months, or not at all. You can also access Bard’s activity history, which can be useful if you want to review or rerun a previous message.

Is Google Bard free to use?

Yes, Google Bard is free to use. From May 2023, Google Bard will also remain ad-free.

Does Google Bard use PaLM 2?

In May 2023, Google announced that Bard had switched to using the Pathways Language Model 2 rather than the Dialogue Applications language model. Google promotes PaLM 2 as “a state-of-the-art language model with enhanced multilingual, reasoning and coding capabilities”.

SEE: Learn how to successfully use ChatGPT.

Google plans to make PaLM 2 available in four different sizes: Gecko, Otto, Bison, and Unicorn. Different sizes serve a wide range of computing environments. The smallest, Gecko, is designed to work even on a mobile device without an internet connection.

What are the alternatives to Google Bard?

The ability to access current web content is a key differentiator between Google Bard and many other chatbot AI systems. Many large language model chatbot systems were trained on older data and did not have access to information about current events. This inability to browse the Internet limits the usefulness of many such systems.

Here are three alternatives to Bard that can access current web content and are worth checking out:

  • Bewilderment.ai: Available online for free with an optional account login.
  • Bing: Available online for free in Microsoft Edge, signed in with a Microsoft account.

ChatGPT Plus: Available in web browser or iPhone app for $20 per month. At the end of May 2023, Microsoft announced that the free edition of ChatGPT also has access to Bing.

Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/google-bard-cheat-sheet/