Google has announced a major upgrade to its conversational AI system Bard, now powering it globally with the more advanced Gemini Pro model. Bard can now understand and converse in over 40 languages spanning 230 countries and territories.
This represents a massive expansion beyond the original English-only version launched last December. Compared to the previous version, Bard will benefit from enhanced reasoning, summarization, planning and coding abilities.
Over the last 12 months, Google has significantly closed the gap with OpenAI's ChatGPT, and Microsoft's Copilot in both capabilities and features. Independent evaluations by the Large Model Systems Organization confirm that Bard with Gemini Pro is now one of the top-performing chatbots available today.
With more people turning to chatbots for information, Google is taking care to provide accurate information. They have updated Bard's built-in "Double Check" feature, which allows users to corroborate responses by cross-referencing content on the web.
Previously only available in English, double-checking can now substantiate information across over 40 languages. Users simply click the "G" icon and Bard will analyze whether external sources support or contradict its initial response. Any verified phrases become clickable links leading to the source material.
In addition to improved language understanding, Bard can now generate custom images to visually represent text prompts. This new functionality is powered by Google's Imagen 2 model, which leverages diffusion models to render high-fidelity visuals with creative flair. To address ethical concerns, generated images carry invisible digital watermarks signaling their artificial origin. Additional safeguards also limit inappropriate violent, sexual or offensive content.
Today's update however, appears to be just the appetizer for much bigger things Google has in store for its AI offerings this year. Though unconfirmed, reports indicate plans may be underway to rebrand Bard under the Gemini brand. Additionally, a new premium service called Gemini Advanced (powered by the even more capable Gemini Ultra model) is rumored to include features like customizable bots, prompt “power ups,” and tighter integration with Google Suite.