Google’s Bard AI chatbot can now generate and debug code

Google’s conversational AI tool Bard can now help software developers with programming, including code generation, debugging and explaining code, a new set of skills added in response to demand of the users.

Encoding has been one of the top requests Google has received from users, according to a Friday blog post from Google Research product lead Paige Bailey.

Google said Friday that it is rolling out these software development capabilities in more than 20 programming languages, including C++, Go, Java, JavaScript, Python, and TypeScript. Users can export Python code to Google Colab. Bard can also help with writing features for Google Sheets.

Taken together, this means that Bard, the generative AI experiment Google launched earlier this year, can review and help users debug your source code line by line. Google said developers can tell Bard “this code didn’t work, please fix it”, and it will help debug.

You can also translate code from one language to another and explain code snippets, a useful feature for those new to programming.

Built to compete with ChatGPT and other language models, Bard failed to compare to its AI peers in TechCrunch’s own tests of chatbot performance. This last set of skills could help Bard at least keep up with ChatGPT and Claude, at least on paper.

As Well Bard being able to create, translate and debug code is another matter.

As Bailey warned in the blog post, Bard is still an early experiment and “can sometimes provide inaccurate, misleading, or false information while presenting it with confidence.”

For example, Bard may give developers working code that is incomplete or does not produce the expected result.

“Despite these challenges, we believe Bard’s new capabilities can help you by offering new ways to write code, create test cases, or update APIs. If Bard quotes at length from an existing open source project, he will cite the source,” Bailey wrote.

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