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Google launches Gemini Advanced to compete with OpenAI

Google’s finally made their best AI model available to the public via their flagship chatbot Gemini. You might remember Bard as Google’s chatbot, but its days are over. Bard is now Gemini with a paid version called Gemini Advanced.

What’s going on here?

Google is launching its best AI across their products, starting with a paid chatbot.

What does that mean?

Let’s take a short trip down the memory lane:

In March last year, Google released a chatbot called Bard with their then-best AI model called PaLM to have something out there as people were flocking to ChatGPT.

Throughout last year, it kept claiming the next set of models from Google would be state of the art, multimodal from the ground up, yada yada but there wasn’t anything to show for it… up until 6th December (2 months back).

They called it Gemini with different classes of models: Nano, Pro and Ultra. Pro performs similarly to GPT 3.5 which powers ChatGPT’s free version and Ultra meets (and sometimes beats) GPT-4, the model being ChatGPT Plus (paid).

But again, continuing the tradition of “announcements, not releases”, only Gemini Pro was available for us to use. Where? Primarily via the same chatbot: Bard.

But this time Google pinky promised that Ultra would come soon to Bard. And Google came through. But instead of adding Gemini Ultra to Bard, Google renamed the entire brand (big or small, don’t ask me 😉) to Gemini.

Back to the present:

Bard is now called Gemini. It has now two versions: a free version (same as before) and a paid version, called Gemini Advanced. Gemini Advanced runs on Gemini Ultra 1.0 (that’s just Google letting us know they’re not done done).

To highlight Gemini Advanced:

  • Paid at $20/month, with Google One benefits. (Strange decision by Google to not undercut OpenAI in pricing here)

  • Available via the web as well as a standalone mobile app.

  • Two months free for you to get a taste of it.

And that’s kinda it. The key change is that Google’s chatbot (the lost Bard, the rising Gemini) got a smarter brain. The infrastructure for it remains the same. To be fair, the Gemini team has been adding features like extensions to YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Workspace etc. and the ability to create images (just like DallE in ChatGPT).

Why should I care?

ChatGPT Plus has had this monopoly over best performance for almost a year. Gemini Ultra is a GPT-4 class model and since you’re getting it for free, I‘d say try it. It’ll likely have some issues and you might not like it, but you might also find some use cases that Gemini does better than ChatGPT (like maybe working with your emails.)

I’m not jumping onto any verdict so soon. It’ll present itself in the next week or so. And ultimately in the next two months, we’ll know if Gemini has brought Google in front of the AI race or if Google is still playing catchup.

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