What you need to know
- Google's ChatGPT competitor, Bard, could be nearing "Extension" integration.
- This functionality was announced during Google I/O 2023, but no mention has been made of it since.
- Some of the available extensions include YouTube, Adobe Firefly, and more.
Since exploding onto the scene in late 2022 and into 2023, the world of AI chatbots has continued to grow and expand. This includes the likes of ChatGPT, which is being integrated into everything from SwiftKey to Windows 11, and everywhere in between. Meanwhile, the approach with Google Bard has been quite a bit different, but an upcoming update could bring more feature parity between the competing services.
The folks over at 9to5Google were able to "enable an early preview" of Bard Extensions, a feature that was announced at Google I/O 2023. With extensions, users will be able to use Bard to communicate and integrate with different services in order to perform various tasks.
Despite being enabled, 9to5Google notes that "the extensions themselves don’t seem to work." This doesn't come as too much of a surprise, as Google is likely just laying the groundwork before "flipping the switch" to enable the different integrations.
In its current state, it seems as though Bard Extensions will launch with a total of nine different options. These include some of Google's services, such as Flights and Maps, but YouTube and Zillow were also listed. What remains unclear is how exactly these extensions will integrate with Bard, along with whether Google will open its chatbot for anyone to develop an extension.
This information comes about a week after Google Bard was made available in Europe and Brazil, in addition to more functionality being integrated. Bard is now capable of providing customizable responses, and you can even go so far as to upload images and have them analyzed with Google Lens.
On the surface, it might appear as though Bard is still way behind the curve compared to ChatGPT, especially considering that the latter is more widely available on Android phones through Microsoft's integration with SwiftKey and Edge. Plus, ChatGPT Plus subscribers gained access to extensions in May 2023, with notable options including Wikipedia, Expedia, Zapier, and others.
Instead, and this has been the case from the beginning, Google is taking more of a "concentrated" approach to the world of AI chatbots. The company is already working on an all-new search experience, complete with AI integration, and is continuing to provide regular and useful updates to Bard. That being said, we can't wait to get see how well the upcoming extensions perform and whether it turns Bard into a more useful tool in a fast-moving space.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.