Irish DPC delays Google Bard AI chatbot launch in the EU

14 Jun 2023

Image: © JHVEPhoto/

The EU’s leading Data Protection Commission reportedly wants Google to provide more information on how Bard will respect privacy through the GDPR.

Google will not be going ahead with a planned launch of its AI chatbot Bard in the EU after the Irish Data Protection Commission said it has privacy concerns.

According to the Irish DPC, Google has not provided the watchdog with sufficient information on how Bard will meet GDPR requirements within the bloc. The widely covered story was first reported on by Politico yesterday (13 June).

“Google recently informed the commission of its intention to launch Bard in the EU this week,” said deputy commissioner Graham Doyle. “[We have] not had any detailed briefing nor sight of a data protection impact assessment or any supporting documentation at this point.”

Google first unveiled Bard, its flagship generative AI chatbot to take on OpenAI’s ChatGPT, in February. By March, Bard was available in both the US and the UK.

The search giant has waited longer to launch its AI chatbot in the EU likely because of the relatively stricter privacy laws in the bloc in the form of the GDPR.

“It has since sought this information as a matter of urgency and has raised a number of additional data protection questions with Google to which it awaits a response and Bard will not now launch this week,” Doyle added in his statement.

Bard was initially powered by a large language model that Google said is a lightweight and optimised version of LaMDA – its system for building chatbots.

Last month, the AI chatbot got an update with PaLM2 – a new, improved language model – while the waitlist was removed. Bard is now available in more than 180 countries and territories.

In response to the Irish DPC’s latest decision, a Google spokesperson told Politico that the company wanted to make Bard available in the EU “responsibly, after engagement with experts, regulators and policymakers”.

“As part of that process, we’ve been talking with privacy regulators to address their questions and hear feedback,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, OpenAI today announced the release of new versions of GPT-3.5-turbo and GPT-4 with updated features and reduced pricing as the AI competition gets stiffer.

New features include a capability called function calling, which developers can use to describe coding functions to the two updated models. The models can then write corresponding code to execute those functions.

“This is a new way to more reliably connect GPT’s capabilities with external tools and APIs,” OpenAI explained in an announcement. “Function calling [also] allows developers to more reliably get structured data back from the model.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic