Google’s Gemini will be right back after these hallucinations: image generator to make a return after historical blunders

Google is gearing up to relaunch its image creation tool that’s part of the newly-rebranded generative artificial intelligence (AI) bot, Gemini, in the next few weeks. The generative AI image creation tool is in theory capable of generating almost anything you can dream up and put into words as a prompt, but “almost” is the key word here. 

Google has pumped the brakes on Gemini’s image generation after Gemini was observed creating historical depictions and other questionable images that were considered inaccurate or offensive. However, it looks like Gemini could return to image generation soon, as Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis announced that Gemini will be rebooted in the coming week after taking time to address these issues. 

Image generation came to Gemini earlier in February, and users were keen to test its abelites. Some people attempted to generate images depicting a certain historical period that appeared to greatly deviate from accepted historical fact. Some of these users took to social media to share their results and direct criticism at Google. 

The images caught many people’s attention and sparked many conversations, and Google has recognized the images as a symptom of a problem within Gemini. The tech giant then chose to take the feature offline and fix whatever was causing the model to dream up such strange and controversial pictures. 

Hassabis confirmed that Gemini was not working as intended, and that it would take some weeks to amend it, and bring it back online while speaking at a panel taking place at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona

Person using a laptop in a coffeeshop

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If at first, your generative AI bot doesn't succeed…

Google’s first attempt at a generative AI chatbot was Bard, which saw a lukewarm reception and didn’t win users over from the more popular ChatGPT in the way Google had hoped, after which it changed course and debuted its revamped and rebranded family of generative models, Gemini. Like ChatGPT, Google is now offering a premium-tier for Gemini, which offers advanced features for a subscription. 

The examples of Gemini's misadventures have also reignited discussions about AI ethics generally, and Google’s AI ethics specifically, and around issues like the accuracy of generated AI output and AI hallucinations. Companies like Microsoft and Google are pushing ahead to win the AI assistant arms race, but while racing ahead, they’re in danger of releasing products with flaws that could undermine their hard work.

AI-generated content is becoming increasingly popular and, especially due to their size and resources, these companies can (and really, should) be held to a high standard of accuracy. High profile fails like the one Gemini experienced aren’t just embarrassing for Google – it could damage the product’s perception in the eyes of consumers. There’s a reason Google rebranded Bard after its much-mocked debut.

There’s no doubt that AI is incredibly exciting, but Google and its peers should be mindful that rushing out half-baked products just to get ahead of the competition could spectacularly backfire.

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Google’s Gemini AI can now handle bigger prompts thanks to next-gen upgrade

Google’s Gemini AI has only been around for two months at the time of this writing, and already, the company is launching its next-generation model dubbed Gemini 1.5.

The announcement post gets into the nitty-gritty explaining all the AI’s improvements in detail. It’s all rather technical, but the main takeaway is that Gemini 1.5 will deliver “dramatically enhanced performance.” This was accomplished with the implementation of a “Mixture-of-Experts architecture” (or MoE for short) which sees multiple AI models working together in unison. Implementing this structure made Gemini easier to train as well as faster at learning complicated tasks than before.

There are plans to roll out the upgrade to all three major versions of the AI, but the only one being released today for early testing is Gemini 1.5 Pro. 

What’s unique about it is the model has “a context window of up to 1 million tokens”. Tokens, as they relate to generative AI, are the smallest pieces of data LLMs (large language models) use “to process and generate text.” Bigger context windows allow the AI to handle more information at once. And a million tokens is huge, far exceeding what GPT-4 Turbo can do. OpenAI’s engine, for the sake of comparison, has a context window cap of 128,000 tokens. 

Gemini Pro in action

With all these numbers being thrown, the question is what does Gemini 1.5 Pro look like in action? Google made several videos showcasing the AI’s abilities. Admittedly, it’s pretty interesting stuff as they reveal how the upgraded model can analyze and summarize large amounts of text according to a prompt. 

In one example, they gave Gemini 1.5 Pro the over 400-page transcript of the Apollo 11 moon mission. It showed the AI could “understand, reason about, and identify” certain details in the document. The prompter asks the AI to locate “comedic moments” during the mission. After 30 seconds, Gemini 1.5 Pro managed to find a few jokes that the astronauts cracked while in space, including who told it and explained any references made.

These analysis skills can be used for other modalities. In another demo, the dev team gave the AI a 44-minute Buster Keaton movie. They uploaded a rough sketch of a gushing water tower and then asked for the timestamp of a scene involving a water tower. Sure enough, it found the exact part ten minutes into the film. Keep in mind this was done without any explanation about the drawing itself or any other text besides the question. Gemini 1.5 Pro understood it was a water tower without extra help.

Experimental tech

The model is not available to the general public at the moment. Currently, it’s being offered as an early preview to “developers and enterprise customers” through Google’s AI Studio and Vertex AI platforms for free. The company is warning testers they may experience long latency times since it is still experimental. There are plans, however, to improve speeds down the line.

We reached out to Google asking for information on when people can expect the launch of Gemini 1.5 and Gemini 1.5 Ultra plus the wider release of these next-gen AI models. This story will be updated at a later time. Until then, check out TechRadar's roundup of the best AI content generators for 2024.

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From chatterbox to archive: Google’s Gemini chatbot will hold on to your conversations for years

If you were thinking of sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with Google's freshly-rebranded family of generative AI apps, Gemini, just keep in mind that someone else might also see them. Google has made this explicitly clear in a lengthy Gemini support document where it elaborates on its data collection practices for Gemini chatbot apps across platforms like Android and iOS, as well as directly in-browser.

Google explained that it’s standard practice for human annotators to read, label, and process conversations that users have with Gemini. This information and data are used to improve Gemini to make it perform better in future conversations with users. It does clarify that conversations are “disconnected” from specific Google accounts before being seen by reviewers, but also that they’re stored for up to three years, with “related data” like user devices and languages as well as location. According to TechCrunch, Google doesn’t make it clear if these are in-house annotators or outsourced from elsewhere. 

If you’re feeling some discomfort about relinquishing this sort of data to be able to use Gemini, Google will give users some control over how and which Gemini-related data is retained. You can turn off Gemini App Activity in the My Activity dashboard (which is turned on by default). Turning off this setting will stop Gemini from saving conversations in the long term, starting when you disable this setting. 

However, even if you do this, Google will save conversations associated with your account for up to 72 hours. You can also go in and delete individual prompts and conversations in the Gemini Apps Activity screen (although again, it’s unclear if this fully scrubs them from Google's records). 

A direct warning that's worth heeding

Google puts the following in bold for this reason – your conversations with Gemini are not just your own:

Please don’t enter confidential information in your conversations or any data you wouldn’t want a reviewer to see or Google to use to improve our products, services, and machine-learning technologies.

Google’s AI policies regarding data collection and retention are in line with its AI competitors like OpenAI. OpenAI’s policy for the standard, free tier of ChatGPT is to save all conversations for 30 days unless a user is subscribed to the enterprise-tier plan and chooses a custom data retention policy.

Google and its competitors are navigating what is one of the most contentious aspects of generative AI – the issues raised and the necessity of user data that comes with the nature of developing and training AI models. So far, it’s been something of a Wild West when it comes to the ethics, morals, and legality of AI. 

That said, some governments and regulators have started to take notice, for example, the FTC in the US and the Italian Data Protection Authority. Now’s a good time as ever for tech organizations and generative AI makers to pay attention and be proactive. We know they already do this when it comes to their corporate-orientated, paid customer models as those AI products very explicitly don’t retain data. Right now, tech companies don’t feel they need to do this for free individual users (or to at least give them the option to opt-out), so until they do, they’ll probably continue to scoop up all of the conversational data they can.

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Google has fixed an annoying Gemini voice assistant problem – and more upgrades are coming soon

Last week, Google rebranded its Bard AI bot as Gemini (matching the name of the model it runs on), and pushed out an Android app in the US; and while the new app has brought a few frustrations with it, Google is now busy trying to fix the major ones.

You can, if you want, use Google Gemini as a replacement for Google Assistant on your Android phone – and Google has made this possible even though Gemini lacks a lot of the basic digital assistant features that users have come to rely on.

One problem has now been fixed: originally, when chatting to Gemini using your voice, you had to manually tap on the 'send' arrow to submit your command or question – when you're trying to keep up a conversation with your phone, that really slows everything down.

As per 9to5Google, that's no longer the case, and Google Gemini will now realize that you've stopped talking (and respond accordingly) in the same way that Google Assistant always has. It makes the app a lot more intuitive to use.

Updates on the way

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What's more, Google Gemini team member Jack Krawczyk has posted a list of features that engineers are currently working on – including some pretty basic functionality, including the ability to interact with your Google Calendar and reminders.

A coding interpreter is apparently also on the roadmap, which means Gemini would not just be able to produce programming code, but also to emulate how it would run – all within the same app. Additionally, the Google Gemini team is working to remove some of the “preachy guardrails” that the AI bot currently has.

The “top priority” is apparently refusals, which means Gemini declines to complete a task or answer a question. We've seen Reddit posts that suggest the AI bot will sometimes apologetically report that it can't help with a particular prompt – something that's clearly on Google's radar in terms of rolling fixes out.

Krawczyk says the Android app is coming to more countries in the coming days and weeks, and will be available in Europe “ASAP” – and he's also encouraging users to keep the feedback to the Google team coming.

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Google Gemini explained: 7 things you need to know the new Copilot and ChatGPT rival

Google has been a sleeping AI giant, but this week it finally woke up. Google Gemini is here and it's the tech giant's most powerful range of AI tools so far. But Gemini is also, in true Google style, really confusing, so we're here to quickly break it all down for you.

Gemini is the new umbrella name for all of Google's AI tools, from chatbots to voice assistants and full-blown coding assistants. It replaces both Google Bard – the previous name for Google's AI chatbot – and Duet AI, the name for Google's Workspace-oriented rival to CoPilot Pro and ChatGPT Plus.

But this is also way more than just a rebrand. As part of the launch, Google has released a new free Google Gemini app for Android (in the US, for now. For the first time, Google is also releasing its most powerful large language model (LLM) so far called Gemini Ultra 1.0. You can play with that now as well, if you sign up for its new Google One AI Premium subscription (more on that below).

This is all pretty head-spinning stuff, and we haven't even scratched the surface of what you can actually do with these AI tools yet. So for a quick fast-charge to get you up to speed on everything Google Gemini, plug into our easily-digestible explainer below…

1. Gemini replaces Google Bard and Duet AI

In some ways, Google Gemini makes things simpler. It's the new umbrella name for all of Google's AI tools, whether you're on a smartphone or desktop, or using the free or paid versions.

Gemini replaces Google Bard (the previous name for Google's “experimental” AI chatbot) and Duet AI, the collection of work-oriented tools for Google Workspace. Looking for a free AI helper to make you images or redraft emails? You can now go to Google Gemini and start using it with a standard Google account.

But if you want the more powerful Gemini Advanced AI tools – and access to Google's newest Gemini Ultra LLM – you'll need to pay a monthly subscription. That comes as part of a Google One AI Premium Plan, which you can read more about below.

To sum up, there are three main ways to access Google Gemini:   

2. Gemini is also replacing Google Assistant

Two phones on an orange background showing the Google Gemini app

(Image credit: Google)

As we mentioned above, Google has launched a new free Gemini app for Android. This is rolling out in the US now and Google says it'll be “fully available in the coming weeks”, with more locations to “coming soon”. Google is known for having a broad definition of “soon”, so the UK and EU may need to be patient.

There's going to be a similar rollout for iOS and iPhones, but with a different approach. Rather than a separate standalone app, Gemini will be available in the Google app.

The Android app is a big deal in particular because it'll let you set Gemini as your default voice assistant, replacing the existing Google Assistant. You can set this during the app's setup process, where you can tap “I agree” for Gemini to “handle tasks on your phone”.

Do this and it'll mean that whenever you summon a voice assistant on your Android phone – either by long-pressing your home button or saying “Hey Google” – you'll speak to Gemini rather than Google Assistant. That said, there is evidence that you may not want to do that just yet…

3. You may want to stick with Google Assistant (for now)

An Android phone on an orange background showing the Google Gemini app

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Gemini app has only been out for a matter of days – and there are early signs of teething issues and limitations when it comes to using Gemini as your voice assistant.

The Play Store is filling up with complaints stating that Gemini asks you to tap 'submit' even when using voice commands and that it lacks functionality compared to Assistant, including being unable to handle hands-free reminders, home device control and more. We've also found some bugs during our early tests with the app.

Fortunately, you can switch back to the old Google Assistant. To do that, just go the Gemini app, tap your Profile in the top-right corner, then go to Settings > Digital assistants from Google. In here you'll be able to choose between Gemini and Google Assistant.

Sissie Hsiao (Google's VP and General Manager of Gemini experiences) claims that Gemini is “an important first step in building a true AI assistant – one that is conversational, multimodal and helpful”. But right now, it seems that “first step” is doing a lot of heavy lifting.

4. Gemini is a new way to quiz Google's other apps

Two phones on an orange background showing the Google Gemini app

(Image credit: Google)

Like the now-retired Bard, Gemini is designed to be a kind of creative co-pilot if you need help with “writing, brainstorming, learning, and more”, as Google describes it. So like before, you can ask it to tell you a joke, rewrite an email, help with research and more. 

As always, the usual caveats remain. Google is still quite clear that “Gemini will make mistakes” and that, even though it's improving by the day, Gemini “can provide inaccurate information, or it can even make offensive statements”.

This means its other use case is potentially more interesting. Gemini is also a new way to interact with Google's other services like YouTube, Google Maps and Gmail. Ask it to “suggest some popular tourist sites in Seattle” and it'll show them in Google Maps. 

Another example is asking it to “find videos of how to quickly get grape juice out of a wool rug”. This means Gemini is effectively a more conversational way to interact with the likes of YouTube and Google Drive. It can also now generate images, which was a skill Bard learnt last week before it was renamed.

5. The free version of Gemini has limitations

Two phones on an orange background showing the Google Gemini Android app

(Image credit: Future)

The free version of Gemini (which you access in the Google Gemini app on Android, in the Google app on iOS, or on the Gemini website) has quite a few limitations compared to the subscription-only Gemini Advanced. 

This is partly because it's based on a simpler large language model (LLM) called Gemini Pro, rather than Google's new Gemini Ultra 1.0. Broadly speaking, the free version is less creative, less accurate, unable to handle multi-step questions, can't really code and has more limited data-handling powers.

This means the free version is best for basic things like answering simple questions, summarizing emails, making images, and (as we discussed above) quizzing Google's other services using natural language.

Looking for an AI assistant that can help with advanced coding, complex creative projects, and also work directly within Gmail and Google Docs? Google Gemini Advanced could be more up your street, particularly if you already subscribe to Google One… 

6. Gemini Advanced is tempting for Google One users

The subscription-only Gemini Advanced costs $ 19.99 / £18.99 / AU$ 32.99 per month, although you can currently get a two-month free trial. Confusingly, you get Advanced by paying for a new Google One AI Premium Plan, which includes 2TB of cloud storage.

This means Gemini Advanced is particularly tempting if you already pay for a Google One cloud storage plan (or are looking to sign up for it anyway). With a 2TB Google One plan already costing $ 9.99 / £7.99 / AU$ 12.49 per month, that means the AI features are effectively setting you back an extra $ 10 / £11 / AU$ 20 a month.

There's even better news for those who already have a Google One subscription with 5TB of storage or more. Google says you can “enjoy AI Premium features until July 21, 2024, at no extra charge”.

This means that Google, in a similar style to Amazon Prime, is combining its subscriptions offerings (cloud storage and its most powerful AI assistant) in order to make them both more appealing (and, most likely, more sticky too).

7. The Gemini app could take a little while to reach the UK and EU

Two phones on an orange background showing the Google Gemini app

(Image credit: Future)

While Google has stated that the Gemini Android app is “coming soon” to “more countries and languages”, it hasn't given any timescale for when that'll happen – and a possible reason for the delay is that it's waiting for the EU AI Act to become clearer.

Sissie Hsiao (Google's VP and General Manager of Gemini experiences) told the MIT Technology Review “we’re working with local regulators to make sure that we’re abiding by local regime requirements before we can expand.”

While that sounds a bit ominous, Hsiao added that “rest assured, we are absolutely working on it and I hope we’ll be able to announce expansion very, very soon.” So if you're in the UK or EU, you'll need to settle for tinkering with the website version for now.

Given the early reviews of the Google Gemini Android app, and its inconsistencies as a Google Assistant replacement, that might well be for the best anyway.

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Bye-bye, Bard – Google Gemini AI takes on Microsoft Copilot with new Android app you can try now

Google Bard has been officially renamed as Gemini – and as was recently rumored, there’s going to be a paid subscription to the AI in the same vein that Microsoft introduced with Copilot Pro not so long ago.

Gemini will, of course, sound familiar, as it’s actually the name of Google’s relatively recently introduced AI model which powered Bard – so basically, the latter name is being scrapped, simplifying matters so everything is called Gemini.

There’s another twist here, though, in that Google has a new sprawling AI model called Ultra 1.0, and this freshly built engine – which is the “first to outperform human experts on MMLU (massive multitask language understanding)” according to the company – will drive a new product called Gemini Advanced.

No prizes for guessing that Gemini Advanced is the paid subscription mentioned at the outset. Those who want Gemini Advanced will have to sign up to the Google One AI Premium plan (which is part of the wider Google One offering). That costs £19.99 / £18.99 per month and includes 2TB of cloud storage.

Google is really hammering home how much more advanced the paid Gemini AI will be, and how it’ll be much more capable in terms of reasoning skills, and taking on difficult tasks like coding.

We’re told Gemini Advanced will offer longer more in-depth conversations and will understand context to a higher level based on your previous input. Examples provided by Google include Gemini Advanced acting as a personal tutor capable of creating step-by-step tutorials based on the learning style it has determined is best for you.

Or for creative types, Gemini Advanced will help with content creation, taking into account considerations such as recent trends, and ways in which it might be best for creators to drive audience numbers upwards.

Google is also introducing a dedicated Gemini app for its Android OS (available in the US starting today, and rolling out to more locations “starting next week”). Gemini will be accessible via the Google app on iOS, too.

Owners of the best Android phones will get the ability to use Gemini via that standalone app, or can opt in via Google Assistant, and it’ll basically become your new generative AI-powered helper instead of the latter.

Long press the power button and you’ll summon Gemini (or use “Hey Google”) and you can ask for help in a context-sensitive fashion. Just taken a photo? Prod Gemini and the AI will pop up to suggest some captions for example, or you can get it to compose a text, clarify something about an article currently on-screen, and so on.

Google Assistant voice features will also be catered for by Gemini on Android, such as controlling smart home gadgets.

Naturally, the iOS implementation won’t be anything like this, but within the Google app you’ll have a Gemini button that can be used to create images, write texts, and deliver other more basic functions than you’ll see on Android.

The rollout of the Gemini app on Android, and iOS handsets, starts from today in the US, so some folks may be able to get it right now. It’ll be made available to others in the coming weeks.


Analysis: As Bard exits stage left, will Gemini shine in the spotlight?

Google is pretty stoked about the capabilities of Gemini Advanced, and notes that it employs a diverse set of 57 subjects – from math and physics, through to law and medicine – to power its knowledge base and problem-solving chops.

We’re told by Google that in “blind evaluations with our third-party raters” the Ultra 1.0-powered Gemini Advanced came out as the preferred chatbot to leading rivals (read: Copilot Pro).

Okay, that’s all well and good, but big talk is all part of a big launch – and make no mistake, this is a huge development for Google’s AI ambitions. How the supercharged Ultra 1.0 model pans out in reality, well, that’s the real question. (And we’re playing around with it already, rest assured – stay tuned for a hands-on experience soon).

The other question you’ll likely be mulling is how much will this AI subscription cost? In the US and UK it’ll run to $ 20 / £18.99 per month (about AU$ 30 per month), though you do get a free trial of two months to test the waters, which seems to suggest Google is fairly confident Gemini Advanced will impress.

If $ 20 monthly sounds familiar, well, guess what – that’s exactly what Microsoft charges for Copilot Pro. How’s that for a coincidence? That said, there’s an additional value spin for Google here – the Google One Premium plan doesn’t just have its AI, but other benefits, most notably 2TB worth of cloud storage. Copilot Pro doesn’t come with any extras as such (unless you count unlocking the AI in certain Microsoft apps, such as Word, Excel and so on, for Microsoft 365 subscribers).

So now, not only do we have the race between Google and Microsoft’s respective AIs, but we have the battle between the paid versions – and perhaps the most interesting part of the latter conflict will be how much in the way of functionality is gated from free users.

Thus farm, Copilot Pro is about making things faster and better for paying users, and adding some exclusive features, whereas Gemini Advanced seems to be built more around the idea of adding a lot more depth in terms of features and the overall experience. Furthermore, Google is chucking in bonuses like cloud storage, and looking to really compete on the value front.

However, as mentioned, we’ll need to spend some time with Google’s new paid AI offering before we can draw any real conclusions about how much smarter and more context-aware it is.

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Google Bard could soon become Gemini, and appear inside more apps

The AI chatbot Google Bard is one of the fastest evolving apps in the Google collection at the moment – and it looks as though its branding is about to evolve too, with Google set to rename it as Gemini.

This comes from developer Dylan Roussel (via Engadget), who has apparently found a list of updates coming to Google Bard. it's dated this coming Wednesday, February 7, and the headline change is that Bard will get renamed Gemini.

Google Gemini is the name of the next-gen AI model currently powering Bard, so in a way it makes sense to get rid of one of the monikers. Also of note: there is apparently a dedicated Android app coming too, at least in the US.

Gemini for Android will integrate with apps including Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube, as per the update text. If you're on an iPhone, then Google says you'll be able to try out Gemini through the existing Google app for iOS.

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Get the message

Another tidbit from this leak is that a paid subscription tier is going to be introduced, called Gemini Advanced. This has previously been rumored, and means Google will match OpenAI and ChatGPT in having both free and paid-for AI bot tiers.

Speaking of previous rumors, tipster @AssembleDebug (via Android Police) has found a contact page for Bard (soon to be Gemini) inside Google Messages – the idea being that you can chat to the AI just as you would to any other contact.

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Hints about this integration first surfaced last month, and it's something that apps such as Snapchat have already done. It looks as though most apps are going to end up with Google's AI assistant in them somewhere.

All this is yet to be confirmed, but it would appear that we could be in for one of the biggest weeks so far for Google's AI projects. As for Apple, it's expected to unveil its own generative AI efforts later this year with the launch of iOS 18.

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That mind-blowing Gemini AI demo was staged, Google admits

Earlier this week, Google unveiled its new Gemini artificial intelligence (AI) model, and it’s safe to say the tool absolutely wowed the tech world. That was in part due to an impressive “hands on” video demo (below) that Google shared, yet it’s now emerged that all was not as it seemed.

According to Bloomberg, Google modified interactions with Gemini in numerous ways in order to create the demonstration. It raises questions over the chatbot’s abilities, as well as how much Google has been able to catch up with rival OpenAI and its own ChatGPT product.

For instance, the video’s YouTube description explains that “for the purposes of this demo, latency has been reduced and Gemini outputs have been shortened for brevity.” In other words, it probably takes a lot longer for Gemini to respond to queries than the demo suggested.

And even those queries have come under scrutiny. It turns out that the demo “wasn’t carried out in real time or in voice,” says the Bloomberg report. Instead, the real demo was constructed from “still image frames from the footage, and prompting via text.” 

This means that Gemini wasn’t responding to real-world prompts quickly in real time – it was simply identifying what was being shown in still images. To portray it as a smooth, flowing conversation (as Google did) feels a little misleading.

A long way to go

That’s not all. Google claimed that Gemini could outdo the rival GPT-4 model in almost every test the two tools took. Yet looking at the numbers, Gemini is only ahead by a few percentage points in many benchmarks – despite GPT-4 being out for almost a year. That suggests Gemini has only just caught up to OpenAI’s product, and things might look very different next year or when GPT-5 ultimately comes out.

It doesn’t take much to find other signs of discontent with Gemini Pro, which is the version currently powering Google Bard. Users on X (formerly Twitter) have shown that it is prone to many of the familiar “hallucinations” that other chatbots have experienced. For instance, one user asked Gemini to tell them a six-letter word in French. Instead, Gemini confidently produced a five-letter word, somewhat confirming the rumors from before Gemini launched that Google’s AI struggled with non-English languages.

Other users have expressed frustration with Gemini’s inability to create accurate code and its reluctance to summarise sensitive news topics. Even simple tasks – such as naming the most recent Oscar winners – resulted in flat-out wrong responses.

This all suggests that, for now, Gemini may fall short of the lofty expectations created by Google’s slick demo, and is a timely reminder not to trust everything you see in a demo video. It also implies that Google still has a long way to go to catch up with OpenAI, despite the enormous resources at the company’s disposal.

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Google Gemini is its most powerful AI brain so far – and it’ll change the way you use Google

Google has announced the new Gemini artificial intelligence (AI) model, an AI system that will power a host of the company’s products, from the Google Bard chatbot to its Pixel phones. The company calls Gemini “the most capable and general model we’ve ever built,” claiming it would make AI “more helpful for everyone.”

Gemini will come in three 'sizes': Ultra, Pro and Nano, with each one designed for different uses. All of them will be multimodal, meaning they’ll be able to handle a wide range of inputs, with Google saying that Gemini can take text, code, audio, images and video as prompts.

While Gemini Ultra is designed for extremely demanding use cases such as in data centers, Gemini Nano will fit in your smartphone, raising the prospect of the best Android smartphones gaining a significant AI advantage.

With all of this new power, Google insists that it conducted “rigorous testing” to identify and prevent harmful results arising from people’s use of Gemini. That was challenging, the company said, because the multimodal nature of Gemini means two seemingly innocuous inputs (such as text and an image) can be combined to create something offensive or dangerous.

Coming to all your services and devices

Google has been under pressure to catch up with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and its advanced AI capabilities. Just a few days ago, in fact, news was circulating that Google had delayed its Gemini announcement until next year due to its apparent poor performance in a variety of languages. 

Now, it turns out that news was either wrong or Google is pressing ahead despite Gemini’s rumored imperfections. On this point, it’s notable that Gemini will only work in English at first.

What does Gemini mean for you? Well, if you use a Pixel 8 Pro phone, Google says it can now run Gemini Nano, bringing all of its AI capabilities to your pocket. According to a Google blog post, Gemini is found in two new Pixel 8 Pro features: Smart Reply in Gboard, which suggests message replies to you, and Summarize in Recorder, which can sum up your recorded conversations and presentations.

The Google Bard chatbot has also been updated to run Gemini, which the company says is “the biggest upgrade to Bard since it launched.” As well as that, Google says that “Gemini will be available in more of our products and services like Search, Ads, Chrome and Duet AI” in the coming months, Google says.

As part of the announcement, Google revealed a slate of Gemini demonstrations. These show the AI guessing what a user was drawing, playing music to match a drawing, and more.

Gemini vs ChatGPT

Google Gemini revealed at Google I/O 2023

(Image credit: Google)

It’s no secret that OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been the most dominant AI tool for months now, and Google wants to end that with Gemini. The company has made some pretty bold claims about its abilities, too.

For instance, Google says that Gemini Ultra’s performance exceeds current state-of-the-art results in “30 of the 32 widely-used academic benchmarks” used in large language model (LLM) research and development. In other words, Google thinks it eclipses GPT-4 in nearly every way.

Compared to the GPT-4 LLM that powers ChatGPT, Gemini came out on top in seven out of eight text-based benchmarks, Google claims. As for multimodal tests, Gemini won in all 10 benchmarks, as per Google’s comparison.

Does this mean there’s a new AI champion? That remains to be seen, and we’ll have to wait for more real-world testing from independent users. Still, what is clear is that Google is taking the AI fight very seriously. The ball is very much in OpenAI’s (and Microsoft's) court now.

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