Google ends Bard waitlist, making English version of chatbot widely available

At Google I/O today, the company announced that it was removing most waitlist restrictions and making Bard, the company's generative AI chatbot, more widely available, starting today in English. The idea is to continue to work on the chatbot, but with a larger group of people

In a blog post announcing the change, Sissie Hsiao, vice president and GM for Assistant and Bard at Google, made the official announcement. "As we continue to make additional improvements and introduce new features, we want to get Bard into more people’s hands so they can try it out and share their feedback with us. So today we’re removing the waitlist and opening up Bard to over 180 countries and territories -- with more coming soon," she wrote.

John Krawczyk, senior product director at Google and one of the leads on Bard, also announced at a press event ahead of the conference, that they will be rolling out Korean and Japanese versions of the chatbot, with additional languages coming soon. “We're going to continue to expand to the top 40 languages very soon after IO,” he said.

He added that they are rolling out other languages separately as a safety measure. Being responsible about how they are developing the chatbot was a theme the company reiterated throughout the press event. It even refers to Bard an experiment, rather than a beta.

Finally, Google announced that it will soon be adding multimodal content to Bard, meaning that it can deliver answers in more than just text. "Coming soon, Bard will become more visual both in its responses and your prompts. You’ll be able to ask it things like, “What are some must-see sights in New Orleans?” — and in addition to text, you’ll get a helpful response along with rich visuals to give you a much better sense of what you’re exploring," Hsiao wrote in the company blog post. Rich visuals mean pictures for now, but presumably at some point, they will include maps, charts and other items.

Google announced Bard in February in a blog post. It made its first public launch in March when it made Bard available by signing up for the now-defunct waitlist. Much like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Bard is a chatbot that will answer questions in natural language.

Read more about Google I/O 2023 on TechCrunch
Read more about Google I/O 2023 on TechCrunch