Google announced a big change to Bard, its chatbot and assistant powered by artificial intelligence, on Thursday. This includes a new app and subscription choices. Bard, which competes with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is now called Gemini, the same name as the AI models that make it work.
Google also introduced new options for people to use the AI tool. Starting Thursday, Android users can get a special app just for Gemini, while iPhone users can access Gemini through the Google app on iOS.
Advancing AI Assistance: Google’s Commitment and Actions
Google’s rebranding and new app choices show the company’s dedication to advancing AI assistants or agents. These are tools like chatbots, coding helpers, and other productivity aids that Google is investing heavily in.
During Alphabet’s earnings call on January 30th, CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized the company’s dedication to AI. Pichai expressed his vision of providing an AI agent capable of handling various tasks for users, possibly even within Google Search, although he acknowledged that there’s much work to be done. Similarly, CEOs of major tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon reiterated their commitment to developing AI agents as useful productivity tools.
Sissie Hsiao, a Google vice president and general manager for Google Assistant and Bard, informed reporters during a call on Wednesday that the changes made to Gemini mark the initial stage in the development of a genuine AI assistant.
On Thursday, Google also introduced a new subscription option for AI enthusiasts who desire access to Gemini Ultra 1.0, Google’s most robust AI model. The subscription costs $19.99 per month through Google One, the company’s paid storage service. For current Google One subscribers, this fee covers their existing storage plans. Additionally, there’s a two-month free trial accessible for this subscription.
The releases announced on Thursday are accessible to users in over 150 countries and territories, but currently, they are only available in English. Google intends to broaden language options in the near future, starting with Japanese and Korean, followed by additional languages.
Evolution of Bard to Gemini: Impact and Future Expansion
The rebranding of Bard also impacts Duet AI, previously known as Google’s “packaged AI agents” in Google Workspace and Google Cloud. These agents are created to enhance productivity and perform basic tasks for client companies such as Wayfair, GE, Spotify, and Pfizer. These tools will now be called Gemini for Workspace and Gemini for Google Cloud.
Executives informed reporters on Wednesday that Google One subscribers who opt for the AI subscription will also gain access to Gemini’s assistant features in Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Meet. Google aims to integrate more context into Gemini from users’ content in Gmail, Docs, and Drive. For instance, when responding to a lengthy email thread, suggested responses will eventually consider context from previous messages in the thread and possibly relevant files in Google Drive.
Regarding the extensive name change, Google’s Hsiao informed reporters on Wednesday that it aims to clarify to users that they are directly engaging with the AI models supporting the chatbot.
“Bard was how users communicated with our advanced models, and Gemini represents our advanced models,” stated Hsiao.
In the future, AI agents might be able to organize group gatherings by checking everyone’s schedules for conflicts, arrange travel and activities, purchase gifts, or carry out specific job tasks like outbound sales. However, at present, tools like Gemini are mostly restricted to tasks such as summarizing, creating to-do lists, or assisting with coding.
Pichai mentioned during the January 30 earnings call that Google will continue to employ generative AI, especially with their most advanced models and Bard, for Google Assistant and Search. This approach enables them to evolve into more of an agent over time, potentially expanding beyond providing answers to users and offering more extensive assistance.
Google’s changes from Bard to Gemini show a big move in making AI better. They offer new apps and subscriptions, proving their commitment to improving AI helpers. Plans to add more languages and launching Gemini Ultra 1.0 display Google’s dedication to making AI better worldwide.