Google announced Bard as an “early experiment” in February and still prominently refers to it as such. I thought that qualifier applied to both the generative AI nature and its name, which would change when the product graduated.
I’m no longer so certain it’s going to get replaced following the announcement of “Assistant with Bard.” While Google calls it an “early experiment,” it did get a pretty high-profile, consumer-facing announcement alongside the Pixel 8.
“Bard” is a fine name, but I wouldn’t call it a good one. Going by the definition and the most famous instance of one, bards are storytellers. It’s far from a common word, and my usage of Bard (as a tool that I direct to do things) is not aligned with that definition nor Google’s view that it’s something you “collaborate” with. (Meanwhile, Duet AI in the Workspace realm does accomplish that with its name). It especially doesn’t fit the company’s typical naming of products by their main function.
Having used Bard for a few months, I’m seeing the distinction between it and the Google Search Generative Experience. To me, SGE is more informational and what you use to search the web, while Bard is the aforementioned tool/utility. I think Google will maintain both products with their different use cases for the foreseeable future. (That said, Google recently updated SGE with text and image generation that I thought would remain the domain of Bard.)
In that regard, “Google Chat” is a more obvious name. (I don’t think renaming the Workspace-first Slack/Teams app is the worst idea, especially as it’s about to get a new icon, homescreen, Duet AI, and other features. To me, the “Chat” name has been a bit too casual for its work context, though Google does occasionally remind people that you can use it for personal conversations. Even “Google Talk” is more fitting for the enterprise nature since everyone talks.)
Another suggestion would be Google rebranding Bard as Assistant, complete with the same ‘g’ logo that’s already very chatbot character-esque in nature. That’s a name that more than conveys its utility.
I get why we have Assistant “with Bard” today, but it is awfully clunky for something that you’re hyping up as the panacea for people’s complaints about today’s Assistant functionally stagnating. I have to believe that “with Bard” will eventually disappear a year or two after launch, and that its internal “AWB” shorthand never gains traction.
It’s too bad the “new Google Assistant” branding has been taken. (On that note, I remain blown away that the new Assistant has remained a Pixel exclusive. For all the hype at that time, I thought Google had a clear roadmap for wide availability as a voice assistant that can do more for you.)