Disappointment, great disappointment, for all users they were (we were) waiting for the arrival of Bard in Spain . Among the most important announcements of the Google I/O 2023 presentation, and within the huge block dedicated to artificial intelligence , the company told us that its chatbot no longer has a waiting list, and that it was immediately expanded its reach, as it became accessible from no less than 180 countries. This, logically, made us think that we could already access it from Spain, despite the fact that at first the list with them will not be published.
Did it make sense to think that Spain would be among those 180 countries? The answer is a resounding yes, and not because of ego, but because the complete list of countries in the world does not yield a number that is much higher than that of this expansion. The United Nations Organization currently recognizes 193 countries and two observer states (Vatican and Palestinian Authority), although it is true that other territories are not recognized as countries globally, but even if we take these into account, the number is not too far from 200.
So, yes, it was logical to think that Bard would arrive in Spain… but it has not been like that . Despite the fact that two days have passed since said announcement was made, when we try to access the service from our country we continue to get the already well-known response « Bard isn’t currently supported in your country. Stay tuned! «, and it is useless to reload the page, empty the cache, change accounts, browsers… the chatbot is still not accessible from our country.
Now, finally, it seems that we have an explanation, although it is not official. The company has published the list of the 180 countries with access and, as we can see in it, Google does not allow access to Bard from Europe or Canada . A decision that may seem surprising in the first place (in addition to being somewhat disappointing, of course), but which can actually be understood if we take into account the recent situation of artificial intelligence in the old continent.
As you may recall, Italy blocked access to ChatGPT at the end of March , and other European regulators launched investigations similar to the one carried out by Italy . It is true that the Alpine country recently withdrew that block, so access to the OpenAI chatbot was restored, but that has not ended concerns about the future of AI, especially since movements such as Geoffry Hinton’s . Europe intends to regulate, in record time (before the end of this year) the use of artificial intelligence in the common space. In other words, the waters go down in turmoil on this side of the pond .
Thus, it makes sense that Google has preferred not to bring Bard to Europe yet, at least until the situation clears up a bit, since a setback like launching the service, to have to go through a situation similar to that experienced by OpenAI in Italy, it can be a major image problem for the company and for Bard.
However, we must not forget that Microsoft did jump into the pool with Bing from the outset , although it is true that this occurred before the ChatGPT problems, and that therefore Microsoft can take advantage of this to strengthen its presence. in Europe, in the face of a Google for which caution may end up costing a high price.