Google is opening up access to Bard, its conversational AI tool, to teens in most countries around the world. Teens who meet the minimum age requirement to manage their own Google Account will be able to access the chatbot in English, with support for more languages to come in the future. The expanded launch comes with “safety features and guardrails” to protect teens, Google says.
The search giant said in a blog post that teens can use the tool to “find inspiration, discover new hobbies and solve everyday problems.” Teens can ask Bard about important topics, like which universities to apply to, or about more fun topics, like how to learn a new sport.
Google notes that Bard is also a useful learning tool, as it allows teens to dig deeper into topics and help them better understand complex concepts. For instance, you can ask Bard to help you come up with an idea for your science fair, or brush up on your history by learning about a specific time period. Google is also bringing a math learning experience into Bard, that will allow anyone, including teens, to type or upload a picture of a math equation. Instead of simply spitting out the answer to the math equation, Bard will share a step-by-step explanation of how to solve it.
Plus, Bard can help with data visualization, which means it can generate charts from tables or data that is included in a prompt. For instance, a teen can ask Bard to create a bar chat to display how many hours they volunteered over the past few months so they can get a visual understanding.
Google is opening up access to the chatbot with some guardrails in place to protect users. Bard has been trained to recognize topics that are inappropriate for teens and has guardrails that are designed to help prevent unsafe content, such as illegal or age-gated substances, from appearing in its responses to teens.
“We also recognize that many people, including teens, are not always aware of hallucinations in LLMs. So the first time a teen asks a fact-based question, we’ll automatically run our double-check response feature, which helps evaluate whether there’s content across the web to substantiate Bard’s response,” wrote Tulsee Doshi, Google’s product lead for Responsible AI, in the blog post. “Soon, this feature will automatically run when any new Bard user asks their first factual question. And for teens, we’ll actively recommend using double-check to help them develop information literacy and critical thinking skills.”
Google’s decision to release Bard to teens comes as social platforms have launched AI chatbots to young users to mixed results. For instance, Snapchat launched its “My AI” chatbot in February and faced controversy for doing so without appropriate age-gating features, as the chatbot was found to be chatting to minors about topics like covering up the smell of weed and setting the mood for sex.
When teens access Bard for the first time, they will undergo an onboarding experience that includes resources and videos with tips on how to use generative AI responsibly. The onboarding experience will also give teens the option to turn it on or off.
Today’s announcement comes a few weeks after Google opened up its generative AI search experience to teenagers. The AI-powered search experience, also known as SGE (Search Generative Experience), introduces a conversational mode to Google Search where you can ask Google questions about a topic in a conversational manner.