Google Bard expansion still leaves out plenty of people

Bard at Google IO 2023
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google's Bard is notably not available in the European Union or Canada.
  • Bard's absence in the EU may be attributed to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
  • This regulation helps control what sort of sensitive data Google and others can obtain from users and what they do with it.
  • Right now, Google apparently cannot adhere to the rules.

While Google I/O 2023 held many insights into the company's AI endeavors, its AI chatbot isn't really bringing "everyone" into the fold as we move forward.

Bard is Google's answer to OpenAI's ChatGPT, and after its showing at I/O 2023, the chatbot is moving into a global expansion. Users in over 180 countries can access Google's Bard in English — except those in the European Union and Canada, as a support page (surprisingly) doesn't list these places (via 9to5Google).

The page provides details on the recent expansion of Google Bard's access to the aforementioned number of countries and territories to experiment with the chatbot. Additionally, Bard is also now accessible in Japanese and Korean languages. Users can hop into Bard without having to place their name on a waiting list first, as well.

If it seems a little odd that Bard isn't available in the European Union, it appears the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has something to do with it, as noted WinFuture. This regulation has blocked Google from rolling out its AI chatbot in many EU countries due to its lack of compliance. Essentially, the regulation is in place to control how Google and other companies handle sensitive data from its users. It also helps control what kind of data they are allowed to collect.

At the moment, Google is simply unable to adhere to the rules put forth by the GDPR, so Bard remains, well, barred in the EU.

During its announcement, Google stated there would be "more coming soon" to its AI chatbot. Google is set to bring some more features to Bard, including the utilization of Google Lens, enabling Bard to return more visual prompts to queries. It will also integrate into various apps like Adobe Firefly, which will help users generate images based on the descriptors provided.

But with Bard coming to more countries in a few different languages, don't expect a standalone Bard app on phones — at least, not right now. Currently, it looks like Google is more interested in ironing out any problems Bard has in its current experimental state before thinking of a standalone app for Android devices. 

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.