When it comes to online search, Google dominates. But, with more generative artificial intelligence (AI) offerings emerging, the way we think about search and AI is shifting. Enter Google’s player in the AI chatbot field: Google Bard.
So, what potential value may be found in Google Bard for lawyers?
While we’re just beginning to explore Bard’s capabilities, the possibilities for lawyers—from streamlined research to next-level law firm marketing—could be groundbreaking. Below, we’ll cover what we know about Google Bard so far, from what it is to how it could be a game changer for the legal industry.
What is Google Bard?
Like ChatGPT, Google Bard is an experimental, conversational AI-powered chatbot that responds to user-generated text prompts with text-based answers. Bard uses information from the web to generate solutions.
Currently, Bard is available in over 180 countries and territories (and in three languages: Japanese, Korean, and English)—though Google notes it will gradually roll out to more regions.
Google Bard vs. ChatGPT
While they are functionally similar, the most significant difference between Google Bard and ChatGPT is where each chatbot sources information. While ChatGPT gets its information from a large body of text sources, Bard pulls information from the web.
How do you use Google Bard?
If you meet certain requirements (such as having a compatible Google Account), using Bard is simple.
Visit bard.google.com and sign in with your Google account. Then, submit your question or prompt via the text box.
For example, you could ask Bard to help you write a business tagline or outline a blog post.
Note: The more detailed and conversational your prompts are, the more likely you are to get useful results.
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Why Google Bard is a gamechanger for lawyers
When it comes to using AI to streamline searches, Bard has an advantage because it pulls its answers from the web—so it uses up-to-date information.
Conversely, because other AI tools pull from data inputs, they are limited to the scope and time period of the information that they’ve been fed. ChatGPT, for example, currently has limited knowledge beyond September 2021.
These limitations would not be ideal for lawyers looking for current information, laws, and regulations.
Moreover, the potential for bias is a key ethical consideration for using AI. If the data sources used to generate answers are biased or inaccurate, for example, then the answers will also be biased or inaccurate.
Of course, relying on web data does not guarantee accuracy or freedom from bias (In fact, Google cautions: “Don’t rely on Bard’s responses as medical, legal, financial or other professional advice.”)
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Google Bard, AI, and law firm marketing
Google Bard brings up another interesting question for law firms: Could consumers start using AI to find lawyers?
Internet searches are already a common method for finding lawyers. According to Clio’s 2019 Legal Trends Report, many consumers use online sources to find lawyers, with 17% using an online search engine and 17% visiting a lawyer’s website.
Web-based AI tools could take consumers’ searches a step further. For example, they could ask questions like “Who is the least-expensive family lawyer in Minnesota?” or “Which law firm in Tacoma, Washington spends the most time on charitable endeavors?”
While a typical web search gives a list of results to comb through, Bard crawls websites, compares information, summarizes large amounts of data, and provides sources to give robust and personalized answers.
What could this mean for law firm marketing? If law firms optimize their marketing to stand out in AI searches, then they may be more visible to potential clients.
Though Bard is still new (in fact, it’s not yet available to users in geographic regions like Canada), it’s an interesting time to begin playing with tools to understand what types of Bard searches you’re showing up in (if any). It may also be the perfect opportunity to consider how your online presence impacts AI’s perception of your business and values—so you can make adjustments to stand out in a positive way.
And, if your law firm is yet to carve out an online presence, now is the time to think strategically. With Clio Grow’s website builder, for example, you can create a professional and secure law firm website in minutes.
Google Bard for lawyers: final thoughts
Google Bard has the potential to unlock a realm of possibilities for law firms—from helping lawyers streamline web-based research to helping potential clients find law firms online more easily.
However, as with any technology, law firms must think critically before jumping in. As Bard evolves, now is the time for law firms to put the tool on their radar, understand how it works, and consider ways to boost their online presence to prepare for the AI-driven searches of the future.
Want to dive deeper? Read our comprehensive guide to AI for lawyers.
We published this blog post in June 2023. Last updated: .
Categorized in: Technology