How to use Google Bard to help you write better emails and better Docs
- Google Bard Extensions enable new avenues for Bard to give you answers by working with a selection of Google’s first-party services.
- You can use multiple prompts at once to get all the necessary answers in one thread, making it easier to manage important plans and projects.
- While the utilities of Bard Extensions are limited, you can still get more pertinent responses and even draft emails or documents with the help of extensions like Gmail.
Google’s competitor to ChatGPT, Bard, has existed in a vacuum since its launch earlier in 2023. With Bard’s September update, Google added Extensions to help create travel plans or improve the emails and documents you draft. If you’re curious about Google Bard Extensions, here’s what we’ve discovered so far.
What are Google Bard Extensions?
Google Bard Extensions enable new avenues for Bard to intake information and work with it to give you answers. Right now, these Extensions are limited to a selection of Google’s first-party services and are only available in English. They are:
- Google Flights (@flights)
- Google Hotels (@hotels)
- Google Maps (@maps)
- Google Workspace, including:
- Google Drive (@drive)
- Google Docs (@docs)
- Gmail (@gmail)
- YouTube (@youtube)
The idea here is that you’ll be able to string up multiple prompts at once that relate to any important plans or projects you’re dealing with, such as “Check @gmail for messages about my trip to Washington, D.C.” You could follow that up with something like, “Look for top-rated restaurants near Washington Union Station” and then “Search for @youtube videos about Ben’s Chili Bowl.” Ultimately, you’ll get all the necessary answers in one thread. Even if you’re not chaining questions up for a complex need, you should still get responses that are more pertinent to you because Bard works with your data. You’ve logged into your Google account to use Bard, so it doesn’t take too much more work to have Bard dip into other bits of your data.
It’s important to note that Bard’s human review teams won’t have access to your Google Workspace files, but they will be able to see some of that data if it’s included in part of the conversation. As with all other Bard interactions, Google says your data is not used to train Bard or target more relevant ads.
Google has not publicly indicated whether it will invite third parties to create Bard Extensions.
How to use Google Bard Extensions
To turn on Google Bard Extensions, do the following:
- Visit the Google Bard homepage and then click on the puzzle piece icon at the top to view the Extensions.
- Toggle each extension you would like to use to “on.” You can turn them off at any time.
- Google Docs, Drive, and Gmail are activated as a singular unit under the Google Workspace umbrella. Before turning this extension on, you must agree to the terms in a pop-up prompt.
You should be able to use these extensions while conversing with Bard by giving naturalistic commands such as “find emails about my trip to NYC” and have them trigger automatically. Otherwise, you might need to append the @tag for the specific service you want to call upon to help Bard with your query.
Google does suggest several themes you might want to use with each service. If you need inspiration, Google suggests asking Bard how to pack when using the Google Flights extension or having it summarize a Google Docs item shared with you.
As a personal example, I asked Bard to help me draft a recommendation letter for a student at an after-school organization, and it gave me some points I could expand on. For example, it suggested bringing up definitive leadership moments or discussing their specific fitness to a college’s profile. You can ask Bard to do pretty much the same if you’re writing up an email – but with more specificity with help from the Gmail extension.
As of this writing, the utilities are a bit limited. One thing I wish Bard could do was summarize YouTube videos through the extension. Instead, I must rely on a Chrome extension that feeds YouTube transcripts into ChatGPT.