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Google’s Bard Chatbot Rebrands to Gemini: A New Era of AI?

by Suzanne Kantra on February 08, 2024

Google’s in-house AI chatbot, Bard, is undergoing a significant transformation. The tech giant is rebranding Bard to Gemini and introducing a premium tier of Google One for consumers that incorporates Gemini Ultra, Google’s most advanced large language model (LLM). This major revamp also includes the launch of a Gemini Android app, Gemini as a replacement for Google Assistant for Android devices, and the integration of Gemini into the Google app for iPhone users.

Google Pixel phone showing the welcome screen for the Gemini app

Goodbye Bard, Hello Gemini

The name change from Bard to Gemini aligns with Google’s AI model of the same name. The term “Bard,” meaning poet or storyteller, was initially chosen to reflect the chatbot’s linguistic capabilities. However, the new name, Gemini, makes more sense as the multimodal AI model – accepting text, code, audio, image, and video – was integrated into the chatbot last December.

Gemini was built with three levels: Nano, Pro, and Ultra. Google released Gemini test data (PDF) last year comparing Ultra to other AI models, including ChatGPT 4, showing Ultra outperforms the rest in most scenarios. Today, Google is rolling out Gemini Ultra as part of a new service called Gemini Advanced and launching the Gemini app.

Chat directly with Gemini Advanced

Gemini Advanced, powered by Ultra 1.0, is built for complex coding, logical reasoning, and creative collaboration tasks. It allows for longer, more detailed conversations and has an improved understanding of context from previous prompts.

What types of new tasks can Gemini Advanced take on? It can serve as a personal tutor, providing step-by-step instructions and quizzes tailored to your learning style. For coders, it can be a sounding board for ideas and help evaluate different coding approaches. For digital creators, it can generate fresh content, analyze recent trends, and brainstorm ways to grow audiences.

Gemini Advanced is part of the Google One AI Premium Plan, available for $19.99/month with a two-month free trial. This plan includes all the benefits of the existing Google One Premium plan, such as 2TB of storage, and will soon allow subscribers to use Gemini in Gmail, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and more.

Gemini for your phone

Gemini is coming to your phone as the Gemini app for Android users and as part of the Google app for iPhone users. Gemini accepts text, audio, and images as input to provide helpful responses. Think of it as Google Assistant on steroids.

Android users can opt in to Gemini as their new assistant through the new Gemini app. With Gemini as your assistant, you’ll see a new interface that overlays responses over whatever app you’re already using. For instance, if you’re reading an article, you can ask Gemini a question and see the response onscreen without losing your place. Or, if you’re viewing photos, you can ask Gemini for help writing a social media post. Even after you replace Google Assistant with Gemini, you’ll still access the assistant feature with the same gestures and buttons and by saying “Hey Google” (not “Hey Gemini”).

Read more Google Puts AI in the Spotlight with the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro

iPhone users will get access to Gemini when it rolls out to them as an update in their Google app. When available, you’ll be able to tap the Gemini toggle on to initiate a chat. Gemini won’t be available as an assistant replacement.

Gemini is rolling out starting today and will become available to all users in the U.S. in the coming weeks.

[Image credit: Techlicious]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.


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