Google is renaming its AI assistant from "Bard" to "Gemini."
It's also finally giving users access to Gemini Ultra, its most powerful AI model yet.
Sissie Hsiao, a vice president at Google, explains the thinking behind the rebrand.
In October, Business Insider sat down with Sissie Hsiao, Google's head of the AI products Bard and Assistant, to discuss how the company planned to merge those services under a new super-product called "Assistant with Bard."
Well, you can scrap that name. Now, everything is becoming Gemini.
Google has just announced it's renaming its newest and flashiest AI products after the large language model that powers them. Bard, the chatbot it launched almost a year ago, is now named "Gemini." Duet AI, Google's collaborative AI tool for its Workspace software suite? That's becoming "Gemini for Workspace."
"It's all sort of a clean-up and embracing of Gemini as our AI brand," Hsiao told BI on Wednesday.
"Frankly, having so many names is really complicated for people. It's like, there's a Gemini model, but the product is Bard. And I think at the end of the day, this is probably the way that most people will experience Gemini the model," Hsiao added. "So we wanted to really lean into: the model is the product here."
Google first launched Gemini, its latest AI model, in December. A version of Gemini has powered the Bard chatbot since then, though Google stopped short of releasing the most powerful Gemini model, known as Ultra.
Starting Wednesday, users can access Ultra through Bard, now known as Gemini, with a notable caveat: Users have to pay $20 a month for an AI Google One package, including access to the app formerly known as Duet.
"I'm very excited with the quality of this model. I think this is going to really blow people away with just how sophisticated this model is and how smart it feels," Hsiao said.
"It excels particularly in the way that it creates prose in writing, creating content, the way that it can role play personalities. It seems very, very strong," Hsiao added.
All told, the Gemini rebrand makes everything feel more coherent and less rushed out for the sake of chasing OpenAI's ChatGPT. Google has been roundly mocked over the years for its inconsistent, sometimes confusing approach to branding, most famously for its hodgepodge collection of messaging apps.
Google launches AI mobile apps
Google says all changes will reflect across its products right away. While Google will continue to remind users that Gemini will sometimes get things wrong, it's removing the "experiment" label that used to sit at the top of the page.
On mobile, Google will also launch a dedicated Gemini app that will effectively replace the Assistant on Android, while iOS users will get it through a new toggle within the Google app.
Gemini on mobile will do many things Google teased back in October, such as letting users take a photo and ask Gemini questions about the picture, or appearing as an overlay on Android phones to give the user information about what they're seeing on a webpage.
Hsiao said Google plans to keep investing in Assistant on other "surfaces" — think smart speakers, TV infotainment systems, and more.
It feels like the Google Assistant will inevitably one day become Gemini. Still, Hsiao says it's too premature to say that's the end goal.
"I think the expression of the Assistant on, for example, a speaker, was really designed in an era of voice-only," she said, adding that Google wants to keep investing in Assistant and making those features "robust."
"There's more creativity and elaboration when you're actually experiencing it on your screen as opposed to just your voice," Hsiao said. "So we are moving away from voice-only. Voice will be present, but it is a richer AI experience on the phone that we wanted to build while acknowledging that Google Assistant has a lot of great capabilities, and so that's why we're building them in."
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