Bard Google overcomes EU hurdles, expands territory and capabilities

Google Alphabet Inc. said on July 13 it had launched its chatbot called Bard for users in the European Union (EU) and Brazil. The launch comes after the technology company has overcome the regulatory hurdles faced in the EU. The territorial expansion is also accompanied by the launch of new features for artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

In a corporate blog post, Google stated that this AI tool now has the ability to generate responses in more than 40 languages, including Chinese, Hindi, and Spanish. In addition, new features will be introduced to Bards in certain regions. These features include the ability to hear spoken feedback, upload images to request, and use AI tools to analyze photos.

The expansion move for this product marks the most significant growth since its launch in February. As a result, it is now in direct competition with ChatGPT, a Microsoft-backed rival.

Bard, which launched earlier this year in around 180 countries, has finally made its way to the EU, making it available worldwide. The delay in its availability in the EU is linked to concerns about compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to the company.

Google’s Senior Product Director, Jack Krawczyk, mentioned that the technology company was engaged in very productive discussions with privacy regulators in Europe. He stressed that ongoing dialogue is anticipated to ensure the incorporation of transparency, choice and control as the product evolves.

According to Krawczyk, Google will now provide users with explicit notice regarding the use and retention of their data and give them the option to prevent company employees from reviewing conversations. Importantly, these control options will be accessible worldwide, beyond the boundaries of the European Union.

Related: Report: Meta to release a commercial AI tool to rival Google, OpenAI

Chat services built around the big language model have hit a snag in Europe before due to existing data protection laws. ChatGPT OpenAI, for example, is temporarily closed in Italy due to related issues.

Google is currently facing a new class-action lawsuit in the United States, accusing the company of inappropriately using users’ personal information for training its artificial intelligence systems.

However, the allure of novelty may be waning as recent web user statistics showed a drop in monthly traffic and unique visitors to ChatGPT websites in June, marking the first drop ever recorded.

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