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Google goes big on ChatGPT-style chatbot

Google on Thursday rebranded its ChatGPT-style chatbot to Gemini, giving it unprecedented prominence on its products.

Google is broken. — © AFP/File Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV
Google is broken. — © AFP/File Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

Google on Thursday rebranded its ChatGPT-style chatbot to Gemini, giving it unprecedented prominence on its products, as the tech titan’s AI race with Microsoft heats up.

The name change from Bard comes a year after the search engine giant rushed out its chatbot in a frantic bid to catch up with Microsoft’s Bing chatbot, which was released through its partnership with OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT.

Since their launch, the chatbots have expanded into generating images as well as texts in answers to simple prompts, basing themselves on data trawled from the internet.

Crucially, Gemini will be available through an easy-to-see link on the company’s Google app on iPhones, signaling that the AI chatbot is becoming an integral part of its consumer experience on par with search.

Google also said it was releasing Gemini Ultra 1.0, its most powerful generative AI model yet, which will be available as an advanced chatbot for $20 a month in 150 countries — but only in English.

The less powerful Gemini and Gemini Advanced will be standalone apps on Android phones and integrated into the Google app on iPhone.

For now, the apps are not available in Europe, with the company indicating that it still has to figure out regulatory hurdles there.

The announcement by Google came a day after Microsoft said it had revamped its equivalent Copilot app, which is the new name for the Bing chatbot.

Microsoft said it was running an ad during Sunday’s Super Bowl that would promote the use of its Copilot standalone app.

As some doubts persist on the long-term use cases for generative AI chatbots, both Google and Microsoft put forward their product’s ability to enhance creativity online.

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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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