Google Bard AI can now access your email and documents

19 Sep 2023

Image: © PixieMe/

Using a new feature that can be turned off, users of Google’s Bard AI can sift through their data faster to find relevant information.

Google AI chatbot Bard can now integrate with a user’s emails, documents and other files saved on the cloud to give personalised answers to questions.

Announced earlier this year, Bard is Google parent Alphabet’s response to ChatGPT. Delayed because of concerns raised by the Irish Data Protection Commission around its GDPR implications, Bard was released in the EU’s 450m-strong market in July.

In an announcement that calls the integration feature Bard Extensions, Google said the chatbot can now access personal information from its suite of apps – Gmail, Docs, Drive, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Flights – to find and show you relevant information.

Yury Pinsky, director of project management at Bard, said that it can provide answers “even when the information you need is across multiple apps and services” and that the data cannot be accessed by human reviewers.

“If you choose to use the Workspace extensions, your content from Gmail, Docs and Drive is not seen by human reviewers, used by Bard to show you ads or used to train the Bard model,” Pinsky wrote in the blogpost.

“And of course, you’re always in control of your privacy settings when deciding how you want to use these extensions, and you can turn them off at any time.”

Earlier in the summer, even before Bard was released in the EU, it got an update with PaLM2 – a new, improved language model – while the waitlist to access the chatbot was removed.

A July update to Google’s privacy policy included a clause that allows the search giant to collect any information that’s publicly available online to help train its AI models.

This means that Google is being open about scraping the internet for any information posted online and using it to train its AI tools – which includes, most notably, its AI chatbot Bard.

However, the latest extension feature, available only in English for now, does not include private data linked to individual accounts.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic