Google Bard, the conversational AI product, faced criticism after it was revealed that Google Search had started indexing shared Bard conversational links. This means that private conversations between users and Bard, which were shared with designated third parties, could potentially be accessed by Google’s crawler and appear publicly in search results. SEO consultant Gagan Ghotra posted evidence on X (formerly Twitter) showing several Bard conversations being indexed. Google Brain research scientist Peter J. Liu clarified that only conversations that users had chosen to share were being indexed. Google’s Search Liaison account responded to Ghotra, stating that they did not intend for shared chats to be indexed and that they were working on a solution.
The incident raises concerns about the privacy and security of users’ information when using Google Bard. Many users may not have been aware that shared conversations would be indexed by Google and displayed in search results. This issue is particularly damaging for Bard and Google’s consumer AI ambitions as they face intense competition from other popular AI chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Google’s new AI, Gemini, is expected to provide a better and more private user experience. The incident highlights the need for AI platforms to prioritize user privacy and ensure that sensitive information remains confidential.
As a digital town square for technical decision-makers, VentureBeat aims to provide insights into transformative enterprise technology. The indexing of shared Bard conversational links by Google Search reflects poorly on both Bard and Google’s consumer AI efforts. It is crucial for AI platforms to address privacy concerns and offer secure experiences to users. The incident may accelerate the adoption of alternate AI chatbots that prioritize privacy and security, ultimately impacting Google’s market position in the AI industry.