Google Assistant is finally getting Bard’s AI smarts – and it could help run your life

It makes sense for the generative AI engine Google Bard to add some of its smarts to the Google Assistant tool that's been setting alarms and looking up facts on the web for years – and that's exactly what Google has just announced at its Made by Google 2023 event.

Assistant with Bard is described as “a step towards a more personal assistant” by Google exec Sissie Hsiao, and it builds on the recently added integrations between Bard and other Google products like Gmail and Google Drive.

So, for example, you could ask Assistant with Bard to highlight the most important emails you've had this week for you, or get the tool to write a social media post for you, to accompany a photo of your very cute puppy.

Another demo Google ran through was checking where a party was (based on a Gmail invite), finding out how long it would take to get there (via Google Maps), and then sending a text offering to travel there with a specific friend.

Personalization and reasoning

“[Assistant with Bard] combines Bard's generative and reasoning capabilities with Assistant’s personalized help,” writes Hsiao. “You can interact with it through text, voice or images – and it can even help take actions for you.”

So you get all the creativity of Bard, plus the functionality of Google Assistant, plus the personalization offered by the integrations with other Google products. It's a pretty comprehensive package, and it's going to be available on Android and iOS over the next few months.

It looks as though some features will be exclusive to Android, because of Assistant's deeper hooks into apps and settings on that platform. Google has also emphasized that the product will be “built with your privacy in mind” and have individual privacy settings – so we'll wait and see what that means.

Generative AI was a big part of the multiple announcements at the Made by Google 2023 event today, from photo editing tricks on the Google Pixel 8 Pro to clearer voice calling on the Google Pixel Buds Pro. You can catch up on everything that happened on our Google Pixel 8 liveblog.

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Google Bard’s upcoming extensions could make it my new travel buddy

Google Bard has finally found its legs after an incredibly rocky start and a long game of catch-up with other chatbots like ChatGPT and Microsofts’ Bing Chat. Luckily for Google, Bard has picked up the slack and introduced a whole lot of new features since its launch. Now, extensions may soon be coming to Bard and be the final push it needs to meet and maybe surpass ChatGPT.

During Google I/O 2023, the company mentioned developing extension support for Bard, and while the tech giant has delivered on many of the other features – including image-generation capabilities, maps integration, and better logical understanding – we haven’t had any updates about extension support.

But that could be about to change. Dylan Roussel from 9to5google has uncovered an early preview of what the extensions could look like within the Bard web app. While the UI is available, from the preview it doesn’t seem like any of the extensions actually work – yet. 

Screenshot of potentially UI

(Image credit: 9to5Google )

Let's go to the beach!

These extensions include Google Flights, Hotels, and Maps, as well as Youtube and even Zillow. It’s interesting to see the selection of services offered, as all the extensions combined look a lot like travel planning essentials

This could suggest Google is planning to push Bard as a planning assistant, which in all honesty is a really good idea to begin solidifying Bard into our everyday endeavors. Rather than unleash the chatbot on a ‘blank user template’ so to speak, Google’s plan to align Bard with basic travel planning could mean more people will be inclined to get acquainted with the chatbot and its new extensions.

In any case, these extensions will essentially bring Bard up to par with ChatGPT, and give the quirky bot a leg up in the race for AI supremacy.

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