Educational or Scary? Google Cautions Employees on How They Use Chatbots, Including Google Bard — a Forbes Company
3 min readJun 16, 2023

Key takeaways

  • Alphabet has advised employees to use generative chatbots responsibly, including its own Google Bard product
  • Google Bard EU launch said to be delayed over privacy concerns
  • Samsung, Goldman Sachs and Amazon have restricted or banned generative AI chatbots internally

At the same time Google doubles down on its AI bet by releasing a slew of generative AI-powered products, it’s also telling its employees to use the tech with caution. The move raises questions about data privacy and safeguarding with AI — and highlights how quickly AI regulation needs to move to keep up with the frenetic pace of innovation.

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What has Google said to employees?

Alphabet has officially told employees to be careful about what kind of information they input into chatbots, including its own generative AI Google Bard chatbot, especially if it involves confidential information. Google software engineers have also been advised not to lift code directly from chatbots, as it can still make mistakes.

The company has longstanding data privacy and safeguarding policies which it cited as the reason for the warning, but the search engine titan is said to be delaying its EU launch of Google Bard due to privacy concerns.

Google’s updated user privacy policy, as of June 1, says “Don’t include confidential or sensitive information in your Bard conversations”.

AI’s use of data

Google’s internal move is a reminder that generative AI faces enterprise hurdles as companies are worried about confidential information and company secrets being shared with chatbots. Samsung, Amazon and several banks, including Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, have restricted chatbots use internally.

At the same time, generative AI can potentially transform employees’ workloads. Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index annual report found 31% of business leaders surveyed believed AI increasing employee productivity was the most valuable benefit of the new tech. So, it’s a fine balance between data privacy and productivity.

Some solutions are coming: Nvidia has developed its AI guardrails product, NeMo, to keep hallucinations in check, while Cloudflare announced its Cloudflare One platform now includes Zero Trust security controls to manage the flow of private data.

The bottom line

Google warning its own employees about AI chatbots shows the tech has a way to go before it’s ready for wide-scale use in companies. It likely won’t take long for AI software companies to tackle the issue, as the long-term benefit to worker productivity — and the revenue stream available in businesses adopting AI for their workflows — is too much to ignore.

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-- — a Forbes Company

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