Google is going to let teens use Bard, though with some guardrails

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By Aprilia Reen

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Google is going to allow teens to use Bard beginning Thursday, though the AI chatbot will have some guardrails in place, according to a blog post from Google’s Tulsee Doshi.

Bard will be available for teens in “most countries around the world” as long as they meet Google’s minimum age requirement to be in charge of their own account, Doshi says. (For many countries, that age is 13; Google lists the exceptions in a support document.) To start, teens will only be able to use Bard in English, but Doshi says Google will add more languages “over time.”

Google has a few safety measures to help teens understand how generative AI works and prevent them from seeing unsafe content.

  • As part of the onboarding process for teens, Google will share resources like a video that gives a brief overview of what generative AI is and some of its pitfalls (like hallucinations).
  • When a teen asks a fact-based question for the first time, Doshi says the company will run its feature that double-checks Bard answers with Google Search.
  • Google has also trained Bard to “recognize areas that are inappropriate to younger users” and has “implemented safety features and guardrails to help prevent unsafe content, such as illegal or age-gated substances, from appearing in its responses to teens,” Doshi says.

The company is adding some new features to Bard that might be particularly helpful to teens but are things that everyone else can use, too. When you type in a math equation or upload a picture of one, Bard will spell out an explanation of how to solve the problem. (Over time, Google been making Search a better tool for homework.) Bard will also be able to make charts from tables or data in a prompt, Doshi says.

Google announced Bard in February (where it made an embarrassing factual error because of hallucination), and following the tool’s limited early access launch in the US and the UK, the company now offers Bard in more than 230 countries and territories. Google has also added a bunch of new features to Bard as it races to compete with chatbots like Microsoft’s newly-rebranded Bing Chat, now called Copilot, and OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

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