Google is working on a big Bard AI upgrade that could eradicate spam calls

Google Bard AI
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Google Bard hasn’t exactly been a game-changer the way that ChatGPT was when it launched, but we’ve already seen hints that Google has big plans for the AI chatbot. 

Much in the same way that Microsoft has integrated GPT-4 into Bing with ChatGPT and more, there are hints that Bard is coming to a range of Google products, including Google Search. Now though, it looks like Bard AI could eventually upgrade your phone in a serious way.

As reported by 9to5Google, the latest Made by Google podcast dropped a bit of a bombshell — AI could start screening your calls. In the episode, Jonathan Eccles, who is the group product manager for the Phone by Google app, said that their group is focused on the big problems still plaguing people’s phones, namely “unwanted calls.” Specifically, they want to achieve a future “where you should never ever, ever be annoyed at the thought of your phone ringing.”

Their solution? Artificial intelligence. Eccles says that “multi-step, multi-turn conversational AI could open a lot of interesting doors in terms of creating this protective and helpful layer at the front of every incoming call.”

A picture of Google Bard running on a smartphone

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Now technically, this doesn’t mean Google Bard. Google is involved in a range of AI projects from rolling out huge AI upgrades for Google Docs and Gmail to building 1,000 language translation AI. But we’ve seen some hints that Bard specifically will eventually make its way onto phones.

First, there was a report that Google Bard is about to invade your text messages. This is based on the discovery of a Bard icon hidden in the beta version of Google Messages. This icon was where the text input field typically resides, so it’s possible that Google plans to have you text through Bard in the future.

Then there are also reports from outlets such as 9to5Google that Google has shifted the Assistant team to work on Bard. If both Messages and Assistant are being invaded by Bard, then it’s not a stretch to think that upgrades to Call Screen or Direct My Call — both popular tools on Pixel phones for avoiding unwanted calls — could also receive Bard integrations down the line. 

Will these updates come as soon as the rumored Google Pixel 7a? Maybe not. But it is clear that Google plans on an AI future for its phones and we might hear more at Google I/O 2023 in May.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.