Google rebrands its Bard AI chatbot as Gemini, which now has its own Android app

Just as Microsoft renamed Bing Chat to Copilot to unify its generative AI branding, Google is doing the same thing with Bard and Duet AI. The services now bear the name Gemini, after Google’s multimodal AI model. The name change leaked earlier this month. Google has also debuted a dedicated Gemini Android app alongside a paid version of the chatbot that has more enhanced capabilities.

“Bard has been the best way for people to directly experience our most capable models,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post. “To reflect the advanced tech at its core, Bard will now simply be called Gemini. It’s available in 40 languages on the web and is coming to a new Gemini app on Android and on the Google app on iOS.”

Those who download the Gemini Android app can actually replace Google Assistant as the default assistant on their device. So, when you long press the home button or utter “Hey Google,” your phone or tablet can fire up Gemini instead of Assistant. You can also make this switch by opting in through Assistant.

Doing so will enable a new conversational overlay on your display. Along with swift access to Gemini, the overlay will offer contextual suggestions, such as the ability to generate a description for a photo you just took or ask for more information about an article that’s on your screen.

You’ll also be able to access commonly used Assistant features through the Gemini app, from making calls and setting timers to controlling smart home devices. Google said it will bring more Assistant functions to Gemini in the future. That certainly makes it sound as though Google is phasing out Assistant in favor of Gemini. The app also includes access to Gemini Advanced (more on that in a moment).

As for iOS, there won’t be a separate Gemini app for now. Instead, you can access it through the Google app by tapping the Gemini toggle.

Gemini is available on Android and iOS in English in the US starting today. Next week, Google will start offering access to the chatbot in more locales in English, as well as in Japanese and Korean. As you might expect, Gemini is coming to more countries and languages down the line.

In addition, Google is opening up access to what it says is its largest and most capable AI model, Ultra 1.0, through Gemini Advanced. The company claims this is able to have longer and more in-depth conversations with the ability to recall context from previous chats. It says Gemini Advanced “is far more capable at highly complex tasks like coding, logical reasoning, following nuanced instructions and collaborating on creative projects.”

Gemini Advanced is available now in English in 150 countries and territories. To access it, you’ll need to sign up for the new Google One AI Premium Plan. This costs $20 per month — the same price as Copilot Pro — after a two-month free trial. Along with Gemini Advanced, this subscription includes everything from the Google One Premium Plan, including 2TB of storage and a VPN. Subscribers will also be able to use Gemini in apps such as Gmail, Docs, Slides and Sheets in the near future (this is replacing Duet AI).

Of note, Google says it sought to mitigate concerns such as bias and unsafe content while building Gemini Advanced and other AI products. The company says it carried out “extensive trust and safety checks, including external red-teaming” (i.e. testing by third-party ethical hackers) on Gemini Advanced before refining the model with reinforcement learning and fine tuning.

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