When was the last time you were excited about a major Android update? Maybe it was Google's reenvisioning of Android's design with Android 12 on Pixel phones or, perhaps, it was the last time Google partnered with Nabisco to give its OS a special name. Either way, it's been pretty boring for a while, but one thing could really reinvigorate the desire to see a big new update.
I'm talking about Bard, of course. If you haven't heard of Bard, don't feel bad. Google just unveiled it last week as a response to Microsoft's integration of ChatGPT into Bing and Edge as the Redmond-based tech giant hopes to finally get ahead of Google in the search and browser game.
But, as Google proved in its unveiling, Bard isn't ready to replace Google Search any time soon. Bard, like ChatGPT and Google's BERT before it, is a natural language model that extrapolates information from existing websites in an attempt to cobble together a cohesive answer. But, when that source information is incorrect, the results can be as disastrous as the misinformation that already runs rampant on the Internet.
I think Bard's positive traits mean it's ripe for integration into Android and Chrome, first, just as Microsoft is doing with Bing and ChatGPT, and it could make for the most exciting Android release we've ever seen if Google gets to it.
A smarter smartphone
You may not realize this but curating search results isn't the only thing Bard and ChatGPT can do. That's actually the least exciting thing and probably the least accurate thing it can do.
Instead, Google needs to start using Bard for more practical things before it tries to integrate it into Search and ruin its real cash cow. Dropping it into Android as a system-level way to analyze behavior and make suggestions is where it needs to appear, first.
Over the years, we've seen Google integrate AI into Android in many ways. Phones are more battery efficient these days not just because of better processors but also because AI routines analyze your daily behavior and tailor your experience by keeping unused apps from running in the background. Your phone even knows when to rotate your screen based on your head position thanks to AI understanding.
So what if Google were to use Bard to take that to the next level? Microsoft is reportedly readying an Office update for 2023 that integrates ChatGPT to help users craft emails, start templates for important document types, and even write entire documents based on a single idea provided by a user.
Now imagine what this could do on your phone.
Maybe you already headed off to vacation and forgot to turn your lights off or set the alarm. Tapping that Google Assistant button and telling Google you're on vacation could trigger an automated set of instructions that'll turn off all the lights, arm the security system, set the thermostat to away mode, enable notifications for all the best wireless security cameras you have strewn around your property, and maybe follow that up with a brief itinerary of your planned trip.
Or, maybe you just need to compose a quick email or text message? Yeah, it sounds hokey but Valentine's Day is coming up and not everyone has a way with words. Why not ask Bard to write a love letter to your one and only by including some of your favorite things you like about them? After all, people buy Hallmark cards written by someone else all the time.
How about scheduling your next Instagram post or creating custom notifications for posts on Twitter for filters that Bard could make for you based on a set of interests?
Or maybe you'd just like Bard to suggest better ways to use your phone? Phones like the Galaxy S23 already do something like this by recommending you lower your brightness to save battery life or enable face unlock for more convenient phone use, but Bard could go so much further.
If you're a heavy multitasker, I imagine Bard (or something like it) could recommend downloading and using Good Lock on your Galaxy phone to get a more power-user-friendly experience.
But it's not quite ready for everything just yet
One of the coolest things I've seen ChatGPT do so far is summarize an article. We've all run across those really long news articles in our feeds and probably just wanted an executive summary. ChatGPT and Bard are perfect tools for that but they aren't always accurate or reliable just yet.
I asked our own Andrew Myrick to try this out on a few Android Central articles since he was already accepted into the new Bing. Here are a few examples of how that went.
The first summary is actually quite excellent and really on-point. It gives a quick summary of Harish's excellent OnePlus 11 review without any pictures or extra fluff. It's not the whole picture, by any means, but it's better than nothing.
The second example above summarizes my Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra. It does a decent job but makes a lot of factual errors and includes information that's not in my article. For instance, it says the S23 Ultra uses a Snapdragon 895. No such chip exists, and I didn't discuss that in my article. Who knows where it got that from but it wasn't from the article Andrew asked it to summarize.
Lastly, is an example of ChatGPT "hallucinating," as it's been called. The ChatGPT summary of Jerry's article is filled with factual errors and several things he never mentioned. In fact, this summary seems to introduce significant bias into the mix, painting Bard in a negative light that Jerry never did and it obviously comes from the "mind" of the competition, ChatGPT.
While article summary could be an amazing introduction to Android 14, I'd hope Google's version is a little better than ChatGPT's current rendition.
Either way, I'd love to see Google get this into Android 14 now and get a leg up on the competition.
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