Is Google’s Bard chatbot trained on Gmail data? Company responds

Google's Bard got off to a wrong start by claiming its dataset originates from Gmail, several questioning its privacy concerns.Google rebutted saying it will make mistakes

Aman Gupta
First Published22 Mar 2023, 12:09 PM IST
Screenshot of Google's Bard response claiming its dataset originates from Gmail
Screenshot of Google’s Bard response claiming its dataset originates from Gmail

After the ecstatic response to OpenAI's ChatGPT-4 Google has launched the first version of its AI chatbot Bard. Users can now join a waitlist to gain access to Bard, which promises to help users outline and write essay drafts, plan an event or a travel itinerary, and get recipe ideas for dinner.

Alphabet has clarified to CNN that it will separate Google Search experience and users can also visit Search to check its responses or sources. Google stated that it would start rolling out the tool in the US and UK, and plans to expand it to more countries and languages in the future.

However within hours of its launch Bard got caught in a controversy where it answered a query on where does Bard's dataset comes from, it added Gmail to its answers.

Bard replied like saying -

"Bard’s dataset comes from a variety of sources, including:

Publicly available datasets: These include datasets of text and code from the web, such as Wikipedia, GitHub, and Stack Overflow.

Google’s internal data: This includes data from Google Search, Gmail, and other products.

Data from third-party companies: This includes data from companies that have partnered with Google to provide data for Bard’s training."

This soon sparked concern across the internet, with Google being questioned over privacy concerns. 

Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford first shared the conversation with Bard, in which she asked the chatbot where its data sets came from.  Taking to Twitter to share the conversation, Crawford wrote, “Umm, anyone a little concerned that Bard is saying its training dataset includes... Gmail? I'm assuming that's flat out wrong, otherwise Google is crossing some serious legal boundaries.”

Google was quick to counter the claims saying in a response to Crawford's post. Google Workplace wrote, “Bard is an early experiment based on Large Language Models and will make mistakes. It is not trained on Gmail data.”

Also Read: We asked GPT-4 about its impact on the Indian job market, here’s what it said

Despite this, Crawford attempted to verify whether or not Bard's response was indeed a "hallucination" and that it had not been trained on any Gmail data, but she received no response from the company.

Crawford later alleged that Google had deleted a tweet in response to her post that claimed no private data was used in the training of Bard. To support her claim, she shared a screenshot of the tweet. In the tweet, Google Workplace had reassured her that “No private data will be shared during Barbs training process. We always take good care of our users' privacy and security.”

Google has made its Bard chatbot available to users in the US and UK by signing a waitlist at The chatbot is Google's answer to ChatGPT, the viral conversational chatbot that currently dominates the AI chatbot category.

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First Published:22 Mar 2023, 12:09 PM IST
HomeNewsWorldIs Google’s Bard chatbot trained on Gmail data? Company responds

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