Google Unveils Gemini: A Major Rebrand and Expansion of its AI Chatbot and Assistant

Google has made a major announcement regarding its artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot and assistant. The tech giant has rebranded Bard, its AI chatbot, as Gemini. The new name aligns with the suite of AI models that power the chatbot. Alongside the rebrand, Google has also introduced a dedicated Android app for Gemini, allowing Android users to access the AI tool more easily. Additionally, iPhone users can now utilize Gemini within the Google app on iOS.

With this rebrand and the launch of the new app, Google is reaffirming its commitment to AI assistants and agents. The company is investing heavily in AI assistants, extending the concept beyond traditional chatbots. The term “AI agents” encompasses tools such as chatbots, coding assistants, and other productivity tools. During Alphabet’s earnings call on January 30, CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized the company’s dedication to AI. Pichai expressed his desire to offer an AI agent capable of completing various tasks on users’ behalf, including within Google Search. However, he acknowledged that there is still much work to be done before realizing this vision. Major tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon have also highlighted their commitment to building AI agents as productivity tools.

According to Sissie Hsiao, a vice president at Google and the general manager for Google Assistant and Bard, the Gemini changes are the first step towards building a true AI assistant. Google aims to develop an AI assistant capable of completing an extensive range of tasks. This push towards the creation of a comprehensive AI assistant aligns with Google’s long-term plans.

In addition to the rebrand and new app, Google has introduced a subscription option called Gemini Ultra 1.0. This subscription grants power users access to Google’s most powerful AI model. Access to Gemini Ultra 1.0 costs $19.99 per month through Google One, the company’s paid storage offering. Existing Google One subscribers can include the AI subscription within their current storage plans. Moreover, Google is offering a two-month free trial to attract new users.

The rollouts announced on Thursday are available to users in over 150 countries and territories. However, they are currently limited to the English language. Google plans to expand Gemini’s language offerings soon, starting with Japanese and Korean, followed by additional languages. Furthermore, the Bard rebrand extends to Duet AI, which was the former name for the “packaged AI agents” within Google Workspace and Google Cloud. Now, these tools will be known as Gemini for Workspace and Gemini for Google Cloud. Google One subscribers who opt for the AI subscription will also gain access to Gemini’s assistant capabilities in Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Meet.

Google intends to incorporate more context into Gemini by leveraging users’ content in Gmail, Docs, and Drive. For example, when responding to a lengthy email thread, Gemini will eventually provide suggested responses based on both earlier messages in the thread and relevant files in Google Drive. Looking ahead, Google envisions AI agents being capable of scheduling group events by scanning participants’ calendars for conflicts, making travel arrangements, purchasing gifts, or even performing specific job functions such as outbound sales. Currently, Gemini and other tools primarily excel at tasks such as summarizing, generating to-do lists, and assisting with coding.

The rebranding of Bard to Gemini represents a significant step forward in Google’s AI capabilities. By renaming the chatbot and expanding its features, Google aims to provide users with a clearer understanding that they are interacting directly with the underlying AI models. Gemini sets the stage for the development of a sophisticated AI assistant, further solidifying Google’s commitment to advancing AI technology. As Google continues to invest in AI assistants and agents, users can anticipate more innovative features and enhanced productivity tools in the future.

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