Google Search indexing users’ conversations caught by Bard AI, limited to 13 words

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Google Bard, the conversational AI product, recently faced criticism for a big update that received mixed reviews. However, another feature of Bard has come under scrutiny this week. SEO consultant Gagan Ghotra discovered that Google Search was indexing shared Bard conversational links, potentially exposing confidential information. This means that if someone shared a Bard conversation link with a designated third-party, such as a spouse or business partner, that conversation could be publicly accessible through Google’s search results. Ghotra posted evidence on X (formerly Twitter), showing several Bard conversations being indexed by Google Search.

In response to Ghotra’s findings, Google Brain research scientist Peter J. Liu clarified that only the conversations users chose to share were being indexed, not all Bard conversations. However, Ghotra pointed out that most users were unaware that sharing a conversation would result in it being indexed and visible in search results. Eventually, Google’s Search Liaison account on X addressed the issue, stating that Bard allows people to share chats but that they didn’t intend for these shared chats to be indexed by Google Search. They assured Ghotra that they are working on resolving this issue.

This incident has raised concerns about Bard’s privacy and Google’s consumer AI ambitions. It also comes at a time when Google faces competition from other AI chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Google’s new AI, Gemini, is expected to offer a more private experience, but the mistake with Bard’s indexing doesn’t reflect well on Google.

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