Google Bard (and Duet and Assistant Mobile App) No More – Gemini Now The Star of Generative AI Show
Google is retiring the Bard brand nearly a year after introducing the generative AI chatbot brand. Bard is now called Gemini, the name given to Google’s portfolio of foundation large language models (LLMs) and Google is rolling out a a $20 Gemini Advanced subscription service utilizing Gemini Ultra, the most powerful version of the Gemini LLM group. Gemini Advanced is integrated into Google One and comes with access to that service. Google has also released a Gemini app for Android, with an iOS version on the way, supplanting Google Assistant on mobile devices, though not smart speakers as of yet. Bard isn’t the only name disappearing from Google’s product suite. Gemini will also take over for the Duet generative AI services available through Workspace apps like Docs and Sheets.
Gemini Advanced Ultra
Gemini Advanced leverages the more powerful Gemini Ultra model for more detailed conversations and context-aware interactions than the Gemini Pro model in the free version of the generative AI chatbot. Google suggested it could be used for education, coding software, and content creation at a commercial or enterprise level. Gemini Ultra represents the pinnacle of Google’s work in the space. Google plans to make Gemini available in more than 150 countries and territories, initially supporting English with Japanese and Korean on the roadmap.
“Bard has been the best way for people to directly experience our most capable models. To reflect the advanced tech at its core, Bard will now simply be called Gemini,” Google CEO Satya Nadella explained in a blog post. “The version with Ultra will be called Gemini Advanced, a new experience far more capable at reasoning, following instructions, coding, and creative collaboration. For example, it can be a personal tutor, tailored to your learning style. Or it can be a creative partner, helping you plan a content strategy or build a business plan.”
Adding a more powerful, paid version of the generative AI chatbot is now the common approach. The list includes OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus, Anthropic’s Claude Pro, and Perplexity AI Pro. Quora also offers a subscription service for Poe, its hub for generative AI chatbots. And it fits with the upgrades Google has been making to Bard ahead of the rebrand. The most recent brought an image editing tool powered by Google’s Imagen 2 text-to-image model to the platform, adding to the included real-time responses, YouTube video summaries, personal Google account links, and integration with Google Assistant features.
The melding of Google Assistant and Gemini features is most apparent with the Gemini app taking over for Assistant on Android and iOS devices. Though Nest and Home speakers and displays are keeping Google Assistant, the mobile experience remakes the mobile apps to serve as portals for Gemini, including context-based suggestions. The “Hey Google” wake word is still there, but the app will take images as well as commands by voice and text. The experience is multi-platform, with conversations on the mobile app accessible after signing in on the web and vice-versa. And some Google Assistant elements remain on the mobile app. Quick Phrases still uses the Assistant model, as does smart home controls and linked services like Google Maps.
“With Gemini on your phone, you can type, talk or add an image for all kinds of help while you’re on the go: You can take a picture of your flat tire and ask for instructions, generate a custom image for your dinner party invitation or ask for help writing a difficult text message. It’s an important first step in building a true AI assistant — one that is conversational, multimodal and helpful,” newly retitled Google Assistant and Gemini Experiences vice president Sissie Hsiao wrote in a post. “If you download the Gemini app or opt in through Google Assistant, you’ll be able to access it from the app or anywhere else you normally activate Google Assistant — hitting the power button or corner swiping on select phones, or saying “Hey Google.” This will enable a new overlay experience that offers easy access to Gemini as well as contextual help right on your screen — so you can, for instance, generate a caption for a picture you’ve just taken or ask questions about an article you’re reading.”