Google Excludes The EU From Bard AI Chatbot Launch

Charles Oladimeji
Google’s AI chatbot was recently launched in 180 countries worldwide, but it appears that access to the chatbot is not available in the European Union and Canada.
Google’s Logo. Photo: Pawel Czerwinski

At the Google I/O event held on May 10th, 2023, it was announced that Bard, an experimental AI chatbot, would be made available in 180 countries worldwide. However, it was surprising to learn that the entire European Union had been excluded. Google did not provide a specific reason for the exclusion, but it may have been clear to those familiar with AI chatbots and the recent news surrounding generative AI.

Initially launched as a competitor to Bing Chat and ChatGPT in the UK and US, Bard’s popularity has grown rapidly, leading to its recent global expansion. At a recent event, it was announced that the AI chatbot is now accessible to anyone with a personal Gmail address, eliminating the previous waitlist requirement. Additionally, Bard will soon be available in 40 additional languages, a significant expansion from its current English, Japanese, and Korean offerings, although the timeline for this rollout has not yet been revealed.

Is Google’s Bard Unique?

Bard’s Homepage on an Android Phone. Mojahid Mottakin | Unsplash

Bard is a chat program built on Google’s powerful language model, PaLM2, similar to how ChatGPTis built on OpenAI’s GPT. It possesses the capability to provide information, write code, analyze images, translate languages, and much more. The popularity of artificial intelligence has never been greater, with numerous chatbots available, including the widely known ChatGPT.

A key distinction and point of competition between Bard and ChatGPT are their respective data sources. This pertains to how information is sourced from the internet and the relevance and accuracy of the sources utilized.
Bard’s data source is more current and efficient compared to ChatGPT’s, giving it an edge in popularity and user acquisition. Unlike ChatGPT, which is limited to data up to 2021, Bard continuously draws from the internet, providing the latest information and research.

With access to real-time research, Bard has a greater capacity to generate information in chunks, while ChatGPT creates content based on a single text prompt. Moreover, while Bard relies on Google’s latest language model, ChatGPT employs GPT-3.5, with the more advanced GPT-4 technology available only in the paid version, ChatGPT Plus.

Will Bard Ever Become Available In The EU?

The European Union’s stringent regulations on user privacy and data security are well-known, and in recent news, there have been instances where chatbots have caused problems that could negatively impact users and others. Several agencies, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enforce data privacy laws in the EU, requiring companies to obtain explicit consent from users before collecting and processing their data.

Similarly, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) mandates that companies must obtain content before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information in Canada. Google’s Bard violates the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA) by collecting and processing user data without explicit consent or permission, thereby contravening requirements for assessments, risk management, monitoring, data anonymization, transparency, and record-keeping practices for AI systems.

Consequently, the chatbot cannot be used in the EU or Canada. While it is possible for Bard to be accessible in these regions in the future, data privacy concerns, including how user data is accessed, used, and protected, must be addressed in compliance with the law.

If you have used Google’s Bard before, kindly share your experience in the comments section below.


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