AI tools are here to stay, helping us search the web or decide what to wear, improve visual effects in movies, land a better job, and more. As time goes on, these tools will of course get smarter and bolt on more functions—such as being able to scour the web for images.
That’s a feature that just got added to the ChatGPT rival Google Bard. You can ask for pictures directly, as you might already do in a standard Google web search, and you can also get pictures in line with your text.
In its updates log, Google says that images can “bring concepts to life, make recommendations more persuasive and enhance responses when you ask for visual information.” In other words, it can add a little more oomph to the text produced by Bard, whether it’s explaining scientific concepts or recommending restaurants.
At the time of writing, producing pictures isn’t something ChatGPT is able to do—the OpenAI bot is completely text-based, though it can display text in a variety of formats, including tables.
Images Appear in Answers
For the moment at least, there’s no toggle switch to turn images on or off in the regular results that Bard produces when you ask it a question: The bot will simply include pictures if it thinks they’ll be helpful.
Some of the searches we’ve run that have come with pictures attached are for bar recommendations, an explanation of how optical illusions work, and a query about the first working aircraft.
When we asked for an explanation of what DNA was, or for a summary of the Battle of Hastings, no pictures were included in Bard’s output. However, you can specifically ask for a relevant illustration or photo in your query, and Google Bard will always oblige.