Google has announced a significant rebranding of its AI chatbot and assistant, formerly known as Bard, unveiling it as Gemini. The rebrand comes alongside the launch of a new app and subscription options for users. Gemini, a key competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, shares its name with the suite of AI models powering the chatbot.
The tech giant has introduced new avenues for consumers to access the AI tool. Android users can now download a dedicated app for Gemini, while iPhone users can utilize Gemini within the Google app on iOS.
Google’s move underscores its ongoing commitment to advancing AI assistants or agents, a concept encompassing a wide range of tools from chatbots to productivity aids like coding assistants.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized the company’s dedication to AI during the recent earnings call on January 30. He expressed a vision of offering an AI agent capable of completing increasingly complex tasks on users’ behalf, including integration within Google Search.
Sissie Hsiao, a vice president at Google and general manager for Google Assistant and Bard, described the Gemini changes as the initial steps towards building a comprehensive AI assistant.
In addition to the app rollout, Google introduced a new AI subscription option, Gemini Ultra 1.0, targeting power users. Access to this advanced AI model is priced at $19.99 per month through Google One, the company’s paid storage service, with a two-month free trial available. Existing Google One subscribers will have access to the AI capabilities alongside their storage plans.
While the rollouts are currently limited to the English language, Google plans to expand language support, including Japanese and Korean, in the near future.
The rebranding extends beyond the consumer realm, affecting Duet AI, previously known as the “packaged AI agents” within Google Workspace and Google Cloud. These tools, now named Gemini for Workspace and Gemini for Google Cloud, aim to enhance productivity and automate tasks for client companies.
Google One subscribers with the AI subscription will also gain access to Gemini’s assistant capabilities in Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Meet. The company aims to incorporate more contextual understanding from users’ content in Gmail, Docs, and Drive into Gemini’s functionality.
The renaming from Bard to Gemini is intended to clarify that users are interacting directly with the underlying AI models. Hsiao emphasized that Bard was the interface to Google’s cutting-edge models, which are now embodied in Gemini.
Looking ahead, Google envisions AI agents capable of executing a variety of tasks, from scheduling group hangouts to performing specific job functions. However, current capabilities remain focused on tasks such as summarization, generating to-do lists, and assisting with coding.
Pichai hinted at the potential for future developments, leveraging generative AI to enhance Google Assistant and Search, enabling them to act more like agents over time.
Google’s rebranding and expanded offerings signal a continued push towards advancing AI technologies and integrating them more deeply into users’ daily lives.