Google Gemini AI launches in a new, subscription app
Google Thursday announced a major rebrand of Bard, its artificial intelligence chatbot and assistant, including a new app and subscription options. Bard, a major competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is now called Gemini, with the same name as the suite of AI modules that power the chatbot.
Google also announced new ways for users to access the AI tool: On Thursday, Android users can download a dedicated Android app for Gemini, and iPhone users can use Gemini within the Google app on iOS .
Google’s rebranding and app offerings underscore the company’s commitment to pursuing — and investing heavily in — AI assistants or agents, a term often used to describe tools from chatbots to coding assistants and other productivity tools.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai highlighted the company’s commitment to AI during the company’s January 30 earnings call. Pichai said he eventually wants to offer an AI agent that can perform more and more tasks on behalf of a user, including within Google Search, though he said there was “a lot of work to do in advance.” Likewise, senior executives at tech giants from Microsoft to Amazon they emphasized their commitment to building AI agents as productivity tools.
Google’s Gemini changes are the first step in “building a true AI assistant,” Sissie Hsiao, vice president at Google and general manager for Google Assistant and Bard, told reporters on Wednesday’s announcement. .
Google on Thursday also announced a new AI subscription option, for power users who want access to Gemini Ultra 1.0, Google’s most powerful AI module. Access costs $19.99 per month through Google One, the company’s paid storage offering. For existing Google One subscribers, that price includes the storage plans they may already be paying for. A two-month free trial is also available.
Thursday’s releases are available to users in over 150 countries and territories, but are limited to English for now. Google plans to expand language offerings to include Japanese and Korean soon, as well as other languages.
The Bard rebranding also affects Duet AI, Google’s previous name for the “packaged AI agents” within Google Workspace and Google Cloud, which are designed to improve productivity promote and perform simple tasks for client companies including Wayfair, GE, Spotify and Pfizer. The tools will now be called Gemini for Workspace and Gemini for Google Cloud.
Google One subscribers who pay for the AI subscription will also have access to Gemini’s assistant capabilities in Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Meet, officials told reporters on Wednesday. Google hopes to bring more context into Gemini from user content in Gmail, Docs and Drive. For example, if you were replying to a long email thread, suggested replies would eventually include the context of both earlier messages in the thread and files that might be relevant in Google Drive.
What is the reason for the extensive name change? Google’s Hsiao told reporters on Wednesday that it’s about helping users understand that they’re interacting directly with the AI models that underpin the chatbot.
“A poet [was] the way to talk to our newest models, and Gemini is our newest models,” Hsiao said.
Eventually, AI agents could organize a group by scanning everyone’s calendar to make sure there are no conflicts, book travel and activities, buy gifts for loved ones or work tasks do something special like outdoor sales. Currently, however, the tools, including Gemini, are largely limited to tasks such as summarizing, creating to-do lists or helping to write code.
“We’ll use next-generation AI there, especially with our more advanced models and Bard,” Pichai said on a Jan. 30 earnings call, talking about Google Assistant and Search. That “allows us to be more like an agent over time, if I were to think about the future and maybe go beyond answers and continue for users even more.”