Google's Bard AI chatbot has learned to talk

It understands 40 languages and can speak its responses.


Google's Bard gained a handful of new features and functions Thursday in the chatbot AI's latest round of updates, including expanded linguistic knowledge, more nuanced response controls and the ability to respond with spoken word in addition to text. In all the AI can now converse in nearly four dozen languages.

Users can now converse with the AI in Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi and Spanish, among others as well as access the platform from more places on the planet, such as Brazil and "across Europe," Jack Krawczyk, Bard Product Lead, and Amarnag Subramanya, Bard's VP of Engineering, wrote in a blog post Thursday. "As we bring Bard to more regions and languages over time, we’ll continue to use our AI Principles as a guide, incorporate user feedback, and take steps to protect people’s privacy and data."

Bard now literally speaks. Users will have the option to either read or listen to the AI's generated responses, which Krawczyk and Subramanya believe will help immensely when users want to hear the correct pronunciation of words in those 40 newly-added languages. Users have also been afforded more robust controls over how friendly Bard will be with five distinct options for the AI's tone: simple, long, short, professional or casual. Those are only available on English-language requests for the moment but the company is already working to expand it out to more of the 40, "soon."

The chatbot also has some fancy new multimodal eyes, gaining the capacity to interpret images dropped into the chat through the prompt field. Faster and easier than uploading it as a document, users can request more information about the contents of the image or generate content like captions based on it. This also is currently English-only.

Getting the information and code that Bard generates out of the chat window and into the hands of collaborators is no longer quite such a slog. Starting Thursday, users will be able to export Bard-generated Python code to Replit, in addition to Colab. They'll also be able to copy and share portions of individual chats with other users. The process of organizing and revisiting old conversations being streamlined as well with the addition of pinned conversations, which are what they sound like, and the ability to rename them.