SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google on Thursday introduced a free artificial intelligence app that will enable people to rely on technology instead of their own brains to write, interpret what they’re reading and deal with a variety of other task in their lives.
Google is replacing its Bard chatbot, which was launched a year ago, with the newly introduced Gemini app. This app is named after an AI project that Google revealed in late 2020. The company hopes that this move will help them catch up to ChatGPT, a chatbot developed by Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI in late 2022. The Gemini app is now available as a standalone app for Android smartphones.
Google plans to integrate Gemini’s capabilities into its current iPhone search application in the coming weeks, despite Apple’s preference for users to utilize its Siri voice assistant for managing tasks.
Even though the Google voice assistant has been in existence for a while, company officials predict that Gemini will become the primary means for users to utilize the technology in tasks related to thinking, planning, and creating. This move signifies Google’s venture into a new and potentially risky path, while still upholding its original mission of organizing and making information universally accessible and helpful.
Sissie Hsiao, a Google general manager in charge of Gemini, stated to journalists before Thursday’s reveal that this is an extremely significant method for us to progress towards our objectives.
The Gemini application will first launch in the United States in the English language and then later expand to the Asia-Pacific region next week. It will also have versions available in Japanese and Korean languages.
Google will offer a more advanced service through the new Gemini app for a monthly fee of $20, in addition to the free version. The company, based in Mountain View, California, claims that this AI technology will be able to serve as a tutor for students, give programming advice to engineers, generate project ideas, and produce content tailored to the user’s preferences.
The Gemini Advanced feature, fueled by AI technology known as “Ultra 1.0,” aims to expand upon Google’s existing base of nearly 100 million global subscribers. These subscribers typically pay between $2 to $10 per month for extra storage to backup photos, documents, and other digital content. The Gemini Advanced subscription will offer 2 terabytes of storage, equivalent to Google’s current $10 per month plan, indicating the company’s belief in the value of the AI technology at an additional $10 per month.
Google is providing a complimentary two-month trial for Gemini Advanced in order to incentivize individuals to test it out.
The rollout of the Gemini apps underscores the building moment to bring more AI to smartphones — devices that accompany people everywhere — as part of a trend Google began last fall when it released its latest Pixel smartphones and Samsung embraced last month with its latest Galaxy smartphones.
The high-stakes competition between Google and Microsoft in the world of AI is expected to intensify, potentially reshaping the way we work, entertain ourselves, and even our very existence. This rivalry has already led to a $2 trillion rise in the overall market value of Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft since the end of 2022.
In a blog post, Sundar Puchai, CEO of Google, forecasted that the technology powering Gemini Advanced will surpass even the most intelligent individuals in handling various intricate subjects.
According to Pichai, Ultra 1.0 has achieved a groundbreaking feat by surpassing human experts in the field of massive multitask language understanding. This was done by utilizing a diverse range of 57 subjects, such as math, physics, history, law, medicine, and ethics, to assess both knowledge and problem-solving skills.
However, on Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized the impressive capabilities of the ChatGPT-4 chatbot, which was launched almost a year ago and underwent training from OpenAI using large-language models (LLMs).
During an event in Mumbai, India, Nadella confidently stated, “Our model is currently the best.” He also mentioned that he is anticipating the release of Gemini’s next-generation and believes that competition will soon follow. However, he emphasized that their LLM remains the most advanced in the market.
The growing use of advanced AI has sparked concerns that it could malfunction or be manipulated for malicious intentions, such as spreading false information in politics or targeting individuals. As a result, regulations have been put in place in Europe and other countries to monitor the use of AI, with similar efforts being made in the U.S.
According to Google, the latest Gemini products have been thoroughly tested to meet safety standards and align with its principles of AI. These principles include promoting social good, avoiding discrimination, and being responsible to users.