Google AI chatbot Bard finally arrives in the EU

13 Jul 2023

Image: © wolterke/

Last month, the Irish DPC raised concerns that Google had not provided information about how the AI chatbot would meet GDPR requirements.

Google Bard, the search giant’s response to ChatGPT, is now available in a host of new locations, including Europe.

While access to the AI chatbot was given to around 180 countries earlier this year, including the US and the UK, an EU release was delayed because of initial uncertainty around whether Bard would comply with data protection laws in the EU.

Now, the generative AI tool can be accessed by the nearly 450m residents of the European Union, joining others in Europe that are not part of the bloc.

Other than the EU, Bard is now also available in Brazil, and comes in more languages, including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi and Spanish. Users can now also listen to Bard’s responses instead of just reading text, and Google has updated the AI for more flexibility in Bard’s tone and style.

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 Irish DPC said last month that Google had not provided the watchdog with sufficient information on how Bard will meet GDPR requirements within the bloc.

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

In May, the AI chatbot got an update with PaLM2 – a new, improved language model – while the waitlist to access the chatbot was removed.

In response to the Irish DPC’s 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”.

Another feature that has just gone live and sets Bard apart from some of its chatbot competitors is the ability to use images in prompts, which is now live in English and will be available in other languages “soon”.

“Whether you want more information about an image or just need help coming up with a caption, you can now upload images with prompts and Bard will analyse the photo to help,” Google wrote in a blog.

“So the next time you have an inkling of an idea, a full-fledged concept or just need to brainstorm, give Bard a try. You’ll not only find the tools to bring that idea to life, you may also uncover an entirely new one.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic