AI tools
December 3, 2023

Google Introduces "Extensions" to Bard AI

Extensions are meant to supercharge your chat experience with Bard.

Jim Clyde Monge
by 
Jim Clyde Monge

Google’s AI chatbot, Bard, has been around for a while now, but it has been lagging behind its more popular competitor, ChatGPT.

Today, Google is trying to make Bard cool again with the release of a new feature called “extensions.”

Bard release of a new feature called “extensions”.
Google Bard extensions

Extensions were previewed at this year’s Google I/O event.

Today we’re launching Bard Extensions in English, a completely new way to interact and collaborate with Bard. With Extensions, Bard can find and show you relevant information from the Google tools you use every day — like Gmail, Docs, Drive, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Flights and hotels — even when the information you need is across multiple apps and services.

Although some users are reportedly seeing third-party extensions, only Google services are visible on my side.

Google Bard extensions
Google Bard extensions

Supported Google services:

  • Google Flights
  • Google Hotels
  • Google Maps
  • Google Workspace
  • YouTube

How to enable Bard Extensions

After you log into Google Bard, you should see the new “Extensions” button that looks like a puzzle icon on the upper right corner of the dashboard.

Google Bard extensions toggle button
Google Bard extensions toggle button

Click on the “Connect” button to link your Google account and let Bard access your Google workspace.

Google workspace bard extension
Google workspace bard extension

After that, you should be able to see the list of Google services you can enable or disable.

Examples

Imagine if you were looking for a flight from Singapore to Manila. Simply ask with this prompt:

Flight from Singapore to Manila on March 4, 2024

Bard will automatically choose Google Flights extension to find the best flight options for you.

Google Flights bard extension example
Google Flights bard extension example

How do the results differ if you disable the extension?

Using the same prompt above, the response you’ll get with the extension disabled looks like this:

Google Bard example without extensions
Google Bard

That’s far less informative than the one with extensions enabled.

Let’s try another one.

How far is Yokohama from Tokyo?

Google Maps bard extension example
Google Maps bard extension example

Google Maps is now baked into the chat box.

I can’t get enough of how useful this feature is, so let’s do another example:

Give me a summary of my emails today

Since Bard has access to my Gmail, it was able to pull in data and make a summary of my emails for the day.

Google Workspace bard extension example
Google Workspace bard extension example

How cool is that?

A few things to keep in mind

  • For now, extensions are available in English only.
  • Bard shares the following data with extensions: information from your conversation, preferences such as language and device type, and location information
  • Google services automatically delete this shared information when it’s no longer necessary for the purposes listed above
  • Third-party extensions like Adobe Firefly are soon coming to Bard.

Bard will also be able to tap into all kinds of services from across the web, with extensions from outside partners, to let you do things never before possible. In the coming months, we’ll integrate Adobe Firefly, Adobe’s family of creative generative AI models, into Bard so you can easily and quickly turn your own creative ideas into high-quality images, which you can then edit further or add to your designs in Adobe Express.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I am impressed with the integration of Google services into Bard.

I am glad that Google finally dropped this feature, as ChatGPT’s plugins have proven to be a really good supplement to the user experience.

I'm starting to notice that I use Bard a lot more than ChatGPT now. These extensions could surge Bard ahead in the ongoing AI race.