If I told you that your seemingly private conversations with Bard are being indexed and appearing in Google search results, would you still use the AI chatbot? That’s exactly what’s happened, and Google is now scrambling to fix the issue.
Users on X, formerly Twitter, shared screenshots showing links to conversations with Bard that are showing up in Google Search results.
This appears to be unintentional, as Google only intends to allow users to create a public link to share conversations with others. Anyone with this link can see the conversation, but Google appears to be indexing them.
“Bard allows people to share chats, if they choose. We also don’t intend for these shared chats to be indexed by Google Search. We’re working on blocking them from being indexed now,” Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan shared on X.
At press time, users could replicate the error by typing site:bard.google.com/share on the Google search bar and a list of chats with Bard would appear in the search results.
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Though not a lot of people would think to type that into the search bar, the possibility and the fact that these chats are appearing so publicly remain. Bard is certainly not as popular as ChatGPT, but consider how the over 100 million ChatGPT users would feel knowing that their conversations with the AI chatbot could appear in a Google search, just because they created a link of it to share with someone else.
This should work as a wake-up call for users to avoid sharing private information with Bard and any other AI chatbot and heed the warnings that developers behind these generative AI tools share.
Google Bard itself advises users not to share personally identifiable information with it if you ask whether your chats with it are private:
“Generally, your chats with me are not private. Google may collect and store your chats, and may use them to improve my performance or for other purposes. Google may also share your chats with third parties, such as researchers or partners.”
Not everything should be shared on the internet, after all.
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There’s no word on when this issue will be resolved, but if you’ve ever created links to Bard chats and are concerned that your chats may be indexed in search results, you can check in your Settings. Simply go to Bard’s site and click on Settings, then select Your Public Links. This will show you and let you manage all the public links you’ve created.