Technology Google unveils a better Bard and new NotebookLM service

Google unveils a better Bard and new NotebookLM service


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The tsunami of new generative AI product news shows no signs of stopping: fresh on the heels of OpenAI’s expansion of Code Interpreter to all ChatGPT Plus users and Anthropic’s announcement of Claude 2, Google is taking back the spotlight with two big AI announcements this week . The first one a massive update to its major language model (LLM) product Bard, which allows users to upload images and have them analyzed by Bard. The second is the disclosure of Google NotebookLMan AI-powered notes service with limited availability.

Bard goes global and visual

First of all, the updates for Bard. For a while after OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, it seemed that Google was racing to catch up with its AI efforts.

But the annual Google I/O conference in May 2023 changed all that, with CEO Sundar Pichai and other executives and presenters uttering the words “generative AI”. more than 140 times during the two-hour keynote presented as if it were some kind of magical incantation for business success.

It is clear that the search and web giant wholeheartedly embraced the tech trend that has swept Silicon Valley and the global tech industry. While Bard has failed to reach the same user numbers as ChatGPT since its wide release at the same I/O event, it is lately, numbers have increased more dramaticallyand the new updates announced today may help further that trend.


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a Google blog after published today, written by Jack Krawczyk, Bard product lead, and Amarnag Subramanya, VP of engineering for Bard, outlines a range of new features for the language model, including:

  • Availability in “most of the world” and user prompt support in 40 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, and Spanish. Bard is also accessible in many new locations such as Brazil and Europe.
  • Bard can pronounce his answers in 40 languages, which can be especially beneficial for learning pronunciation.
  • There are five new modes that users can switch between for the kind of responses Bard wants to give: simple, long, short, professional, or casual. What is the difference? Google offers this example: “You can ask Bard to help you write a marketplace listing for a vintage armchair and then shorten the response using the drop-down box.” The feature will only be available in English at first, but Google says other languages ​​will follow.
  • Four new features have been launched to improve productivity: users can pin and rename conversations with Bard; export Python code to Replit and to Google Colab; share comments with their network via shareable links; and use images in their prompts using Google Lens integration. Pinning in particular seems generally useful, as it allows the user to save selected answers from Bard conversations on the left side of the interface window for easy access later (instead of having to scroll all the way up or down to find them) .
  • Finally, following a promise made at I/O, Bard now integrates with google lenses, the technology giant’s image recognition technology, which allows users to include images in their prompts. Whether you need more information about an image or need help creating a caption, Bard can analyze the uploaded image to help. As of the time of the blog post, this feature is available in English, with plans to expand it to other languages ​​soon. On Reddit, however one user has already successfully used Bard to solve a Google images CAPTCHA (“select all squares with traffic lights”), which gives an interesting twist to a world where the line between humanity and artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly blurred.

The future of note-taking?

Yesterday, Google also revealed that another I/O announcement had graduated from internal development and use to limited public availability.

Introduced as “Project Tailwind” at I/O, Google has renamed the service NotebookLM (short for “language model”). It’s a more fitting name for the purpose of this service: reinventing the age-old practice of taking notes.

As Google’s self-described “little” NotebookLM team sees it, note-taking can be improved over standard scribbling on paper or typing in the Apple Notes app by automatically analyzing and finding connections between many disparate notes and documents and summarize them in a clear summary. , easy-to-read guide. NotebookLM can go even further and answer user questions about their notes and documents in a conversational style, or even help users create new content.

“As we have spoken with students, professors and knowledge workers, one of the biggest challenges is synthesizing facts and ideas from multiple sources,” wrote Raiza Martin, product manager at Google Labs, and Steven Johnson, editor-in-chief of Google Labs. Google’s blog post explaining the service. “You often have the sources you want, but it’s time consuming to make the connections.”

Google’s solution to the problem is to create a “virtual research assistant” that is “grounded” or personalized to the user based on whatever set of documents they select. NotebookLM reviews these documents, compiles its own manual and then presents it to the user. The user can then ask the service in a Bard-like text-to-text prompt field for more information on a particular aspect, or for creative ideas based on the underlying content.

As Google’s blog post explains, “A medical student could upload a neuroscience paper and tell NotebookLM to ‘create a glossary of key terms related to dopamine.’ An author working on a biography can upload research notes and make a request like, ‘Summarize all the times Houdini and Conan Doyle interacted.’”

Moreover, what can be a boon for YouTube Creators and TikTok influencers: “A content creator can upload their ideas for new videos and ask, ‘Generate a script for a short video on this topic.'”

NotebookLM is currently only available in the US and on a waitlist basis, but if you are in the US, you can register here.

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