Feb 8, 2024 - Technology

Google Bard is called Gemini now and expands to mobile, paid versions

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A screenshot of Google's Gemini AI assistant operating within Gmail

A screenshot of Google's Gemini AI assistant operating within Gmail. Image: Google

Google on Tuesday renamed its Bard chatbot Gemini, while also adding mobile app options and a paid version of the service.

Why it matters: Google is aiming to show that it can keep pace with the latest AI products from Microsoft and OpenAI.

Details: Although only a year old, Google is scrapping the Bard name in favor of the Gemini brand.

  • The name is taken from recently released AI models that underlie the latest version of the service. Google Cloud is also renaming Duet AI, adopting the Gemini moniker.
  • On Android, Gemini will be its own app and can replace Google Assistant as the primary voice assistant. On iOS, Gemini is a tab within the Google app.
  • Google is adding a paid version of the chatbot, Gemini Advanced, that will become part of a new $20-per-month tier of the company's Google One subscription family. It will offer access to Google's highest-end Gemini Ultra model and include 2TB of cloud storage.

The big picture: With the paid version, Google is competing directly with OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus and Microsoft's Copilot Pro. Google will try to make the case that it is offering more by bundling 2TB of cloud storage for the same $20 per month price tag.

  • Google is also offering a two-month free trial of the paid service, available to both existing Google One subscribers and non-subscribers.

Between the lines: While Google is billing Gemini as the successor to Assistant, the chatbot can't do everything its predecessor can. It can set timers, make calls and manage some smart home products, but it doesn't have the full range of actions that Assistant does.

  • Today Assistant can access the calendar or play music from Spotify, but Gemini can't do that yet.
  • Also, Google doesn't yet have a Gemini-based alternative to Assistant for devices like speakers, smart displays and TVs.

Flashback: Google said in October it was looking to merge Bard into Assistant.

What's next: Google said paid subscribers will soon also have access to a version of Gemini that works within Gmail as well as apps like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Meet.

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