Google I/O 2023 on 10th May 2023 was packed with AI and Pixel product announcements. For me it was like a product launch and showcasing stage instead of a developer meet. Besides announcements on Pixel 7a, Pixel Tablet and Google Pixel Fold, the entire conference was about showcasing Google’s generative AI Bard’s capabilities. The much familiar Google Search will be changing soon to a new Search Generative Experience based on Bard AI chat. Though we have to wait and see how these AI features will evolve further, here is the summary of what’s changed in Google Bard and how you can access the new features.
Summary of Google Bard Features Announced in I/O 2023
Here is a summary of AI features announced in Google I/O 2023 and you can check out the full video here.
- No more waitlist for using Bard.
- Search layout will change to new Search Generative Experience.
- Analyze and create images with Google Lens and Adobe Firefly.
- Bard generative AI is integrated with most Google Workplace apps.
- Code generation with PaLM2 in Bard.
- Others – AI in Google Maps and Google Photos.
Waitlist Removed for Bard
On May 4th, Microsoft announced that they are removing the waitlist for Bing AI and open it to all having a Microsoft Account. Google took similar step and removed the waitlist feature for accessing Bard. Earlier, you will see a “Join Waitlist” button when opening the Bard page.
Now, you can simply sign in with your Gmail account and start using Bard.
Google mentioned Bard is now available in 180+ countries, supports Japanese/Korean and will soon supports 40 more languages. However, you will see “Bard isn’t currently supported in your country. Stay tuned!” message if it is still not available in your country. In this case, you need to really wait for the availability as there is no waitlist feature also.
Bard will also support dark theme or you can use the default system setting.
Google Search Generative Experience (SGE)
If you are curious about how Bard integration will look like in Google Search and other products, then you can apply for accessing them through the new Google Labs. Remember, this Google Labs is different from the original Labs retired in 2011. The lab experiments include Search Labs (like SGE), Workspace Labs, Project Tailwind and MusicLM. However, this is still in a waitlist mode and you can get the preview access only after approval from Google. Go to new Google Labs page, or simply click the Labs icon in Google Chrome new tab page on desktop or in the Android/iOS Google App to apply for the access if you are in USA. Learn more about getting early access to Google Search Labs.
Based on the inputs from Google I/O, the new Search Generative Experience will integrate Bard on top of Google Search. Generative AI snapshot will be shown on top of the traditional search results as you can see in the below screenshot.
Good thing is it has the link of source pages showing on the side as panels. You can even click the toggle button to expand and view all the sources. This was the bigger concern for publishers earlier as Bard did not cite the source links like Bing AI. Now, this has been taken care by Google with the new SGE layout. You will also see a follow up questions below the summary to continue the search in a conversational mode.
Bard works with Google Lens and Adobe Firefly
To compete with Bing Image Creator, Google is pushing Bard with capabilities of generating and analyzing images. Now, you can upload an image using Google Lens and ask Bard to write a story or caption based on the image.
The best part is that you can generate images based on text using Adobe Firefly integration with Bard.
Bard and Google Workplace Integration
Almost all Google Workplace apps like Sheets, Slides and Docs will get a “Help me…” button and integrate with Bard in the coming days. You can generate slides, create tables and write document summary to take your productivity to next level with these generative AI features.
In addition, you can export Bard response in Google Docs or use it as a draft mail in Gmail.
At this point, these features are not yet available and will be soon available only for testers in coming months. Google mentioned they will introduce Duet AI for Workplace service to offer these integrations to all Workplace users in late 2023.
PaLM 2 in Bard for Coding
Good part is that Google will show source links citations of code blocks when you click on the annotations in the generated code. You can export the response to Collab or Replit to collaborate with others.
Other Features – Google Maps and Google Photos
Finally, there will be few other interesting AI features in Maps and Photos.
- Google Maps – now you will be able to use the immersive view for routes to check the birds eye view and air quality index. This feature will come to 15 cities by end of 2023 including London, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco.
- Google Photos – Magic Editor helps to capture the hidden parts in the photo and recreates them automatically.
From users’ perspective, these generative AI features with Bard announced in Google I/O 2023 are exciting and will take Search, Workplace and other Google apps to next level. However, content creators and publishers may have different experience with the whole new Search Generative Experience. We have to wait and see how these AI features will impact publishers, their revenue and the daily life of users.
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