Google Bard’s biggest AI upgrade so far sees it close the gap on ChatGPT

Google Bard is receiving a huge boost in performance as it will now be powered by the company’s “most capable AI model”, Gemini.

This news may come as a surprise as recent reports circulated claiming that Gemini’s launch was being delayed due to poor performance across multiple languages. But now, it appears Google felt the pressure to bump up the release of its long-awaited (and possibly worthy) ChatGPT rival.

Gemini comes in three different “sizes”; however, we’re only going to focus on the two more powerful versions, Pro and Ultra, because those directly impact Bard. The former, according to the company, can handle a wide variety of tasks. It’s the all-rounder that will be present on other Google platforms. It’s important to mention the company has fine-tuned Gemini Pro on Bard allowing the AI to be more capable at certain actions like understanding prompts, summarizing content, planning things out, and reasoning.

In a demonstration, the tech giant had scientific YouTuber Mark Rober try out the updated Bard. He asked the AI to come up with “the most accurate paper airplane” which then provided a bunch of different designs and optimizations. The video is supposed to show how Bard can now play a bigger role in the creative process.


Bard with Gemini Pro is available today in English across over 170 countries and territories. A full list of supporting nations can be found on Google’s Help website. At the time of this writing, you can only enter text prompts although there are plans to implement other “modalities” soon. Still, we don't know yet what those modalities will be. What’s more, Google intends to expand the AI’s reach to Europe (users on the continent currently don’t have access), plus grow its language support.

Early next year, Bard will see another upgrade where we’ll see Google install its Gemini Ultra model to the AI. This is the top-of-the-line version specifically designed to handle “highly complex tasks” and accept multimodal inputs such as text, video, and even code. Google explains Ultra will “think more carefully before answering” tough questions as it has better reasoning skills. 

Right now, the company is doing some safety checks to make sure the upgrade is the best it can be. When it does come out, the new version will be called Bard Advanced. 

It’s unknown exactly when the new Bard will launch, however, Google will soon release a tester program to a select group of users. We contacted Google to ask when and how people can join this tester program. This story will be updated at a later time.

Until then, check out TechRadar's list of the best AI writers for 2023.

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Okadoc sees adoption of telemedicine in UAE to gain traction even after Covid-19

Dubai-based healthcare start-up Okadoc said that telemedicine is here to stay even after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was gaining traction even before the pandemic but due to Covid-19, the adoption has accelerated for instant appointments as we are living in unprecedented times and there’s a greater sense of urgency for patients and doctors to be connected,” Fodhil Benturquia, Founder and CEO of Okadoc, told TechRadar Pro Middle East.

At a time where most providers are experiencing a tremendous shortfall in patients’ visits, he said that Okadoc utilises technology to connect patients with doctors quickly on a 24/7 basis, helping transform the existing healthcare model in the region by connecting patients, doctors and healthcare providers seamlessly, removing any barriers.

Moreover, he said that the platform has allowed providers to continue the spectrum of care and keep businesses running and reduce the waiting time.

With remote working and remote learning, he said that people have got used to video conferencing, so telemedicine will be there for immediate needs and rather than going to an emergency, the patient can now talk to a doctor instantly.

“When you are sick, driving can be a risk apart from the traffic and the hassle of finding parking and wasting time. When you are diabetic, you may need to visit a doctor once or twice every week and it is a burden.

“Due to Covid-19, most of the clinics and hospitals were not ready for a telemedicine service and was trying to use other video communications tools to solve the problem. In the future, I think that the government may ask every provider to have a telehealth service as a regulatory need and as a backup if another pandemic arises in the future,” he said.

Telemedicine is a complementary product and he said that about 80% of the consultation with the same doctor can be replaced by the app.

“…In the future, I think that the government may ask every provider to have a telehealth service as a regulatory need and as a backup if another pandemic arises in the future,” Fodhil Benturquia, Founder and CEO of Okadoc, said.

TRA approved apps

Okadoc is one of the telehealth providers and facilitators besides NextGen Healthcare, VSee,, GetBee and Mind Mina Telemedicine to be approved by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) for use in the UAE.

Claiming to be the largest telehealth provider in the UAE, Benturquia said that they have accelerated the launch of the virtual video meeting with the doctor due to the growing demand.

The start-up, which started as a doctor booking facility at Dubai Healthcare City, was supposed to launch the service in the third quarter of this year.

Benturquia said that they have 204 doctors in 43 specialties from 38 healthcare providers live and more than 200 doctors are expected to join soon. They have already done more than hundreds of consultations.

 “Patients can book an appointment with their own doctor or a doctor of their choice within minutes. Users can have a video consultation and chat electronically, transfer and receive documents such as prescriptions or medical records and pay for their consultations based on their insurance coverage,” he said.

Humeira Badsha, a rheumatologist consultant at Dr. Humeira Badsha Medical Centre, said that it has been a stressful time for our patients, especially with chronic diseases, last month but Okadoc has stepped in quite fast to provide the platform.  

“We wanted a platform that is encrypted to maintain the confidentiality of our patients. We have managed to see more than 50 patients on telehealth last month and really surprised to see how satisfied the patients are.

“I am seeing patients from their homes with their families and in different settings in a casual mode. Dubai is a medical tourism hub and we do see a lot of patients, who can’t get to see us now due to the lockdown, from Baku and the GCC region,” she said.

Big focus on security and privacy

Using end-to-end encryption with the cloud data hosted on Alibaba Cloud and Microsoft Azure in the UAE, Benturquia said that regarding scalability, encryption and security, the platform is compliant with the UAE and international regulations which mean that doctors working from home can have instant and safe access to the platform at a time where they are not able to be present in hospitals or clinics.

Okadoc is the only regional solution that is directly integrated into a provider’s hospital information system; he said and added that the platform is end-to-end encrypted.

Even if the data is hacked, he said that it cannot be decrypted and the audio and video is not recorded.

Benturquia said that they plan to add prescription reminders on the app for the patients and looking to launch a telemedicine app for the doctors this year.

Right now, the mobile app is only for patients and desktop websites for doctors and hospitals.

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Need some running earbuds? Beats Powerbeats 3 deal sees price cut by over 50%

If you're on the hunt for some new running headphones, the Beats Powerbeats 3 are a great choice – and they're currently reduced by over 50% in both the US and the UK. 

In the US, you can get these workout-friendly wireless earbuds for just $ 89, representing a huge saving of $ 111; meanwhile, UK buyers can save £92 on the Powerbeats 3.

Today's best Beats Powerbeats 3 deals

The PowerBeats 3 are well-made and long-lasting, with great audio for fitness headphones; with this deal, they're easy on the wallet, too.

With 12 hours of battery life, and ear hooks to ensure a secure fit, they should stay switched on and comfortable no matter how long or how vigorous your workouts are.

An inline remote means you can click to change the volume of your music, skip tracks, and take calls without reaching for your phone.

These buds have a great bass response, though audiophiles may find the lowest frequencies a little overwhelming; either way you'll enjoy a good level of detail in your music, and that powerful bass is ideal for pushing you through even the toughest workout. 

What about the Powerbeats 4?

That's why we awarded them 3.5 out of 5 stars in our Powerbeats 3 review – they're not perfect, but these buds are brilliant for runners.

We saw similar price drops over Black Friday and the early Christmas sales; they're a little long in the tooth now, which is likely why more retailers are dropping their Powerbeats 3 prices. If you're looking for something a little more contemporary, check out the Beats Powerbeats Pro, which launched last year and come with Apple's most recent headphone chip.

Furthermore, with rumors of a Powerbeats 4 launch on the horizon, it's little wonder that prices for the Powerbeats 3 are starting to drop – we're not expecting these prices to fall much lower in the near future though (unless we see them return to their all-time low of $ 79 in the US), so we'd recommend snapping up this fantastic deal in the meantime.

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