Google changes Bard's name to Gemini: unveils new Android app and advanced AI model


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What just happened? Google's Bard AI chatbot is no more, but it hasn't been consigned to the company's infamous product graveyard. The tech giant has announced that Bard is being rebranded and will now be called Gemini. It also revealed that a dedicated Android app for Gemini was available for download, and that its most advanced AI model, Gemini Advanced, was rolling out.

Google's announcement confirms weeks of rumors that Bard was being renamed. The company unveiled the Gemini AI large language model, a direct competitor to OpenAI's GPT LLMs, in December, and it is now changing Bard's name to fall into the same Gemini branding.

Google also announced a new Gemini app on Android and on the Google app on iOS (no dedicated app for Apple's OS). The app can set Gemini as a user's default assistant on Android devices, replacing Google Assistant, which Google has recently been pushing further down its priority list.

The other big news is the introduction of Gemini Advanced. Google calls this its most capable AI for reasoning, coding, longer conversations, creative collaboration, and more, thanks to its use of Ultra 1.0, the most powerful version of its Gemini LLM.

Much like OpenAI does with its more powerful GPT models, Google is charging a subscription if you want to access the Ultra 1.0-powered Gemini Advanced. It will be part of the new $20 per month Google One Premium Plan. The subscription also comes with 2TB of Google Drive storage and the usual extras found on the $10 per month plan, including Google Photos editing tools, Workspace upgrades, VPN access, and customer support benefits. It was recently revealed that Google One was nearing 100 million subs. The addition of Gemini will likely push those numbers up further.

Elsewhere, Google said Duet AI will become Gemini for Workspace and Google Cloud customers in the coming weeks.

Sissie Hsiao, a vice president at Google and general manager for Google Assistant and Bard, said the name change was to help users understand that they are interacting with the AI models powering the chatbot. "Bard [was] the way to talk to our cutting-edge models, and Gemini is our cutting-edge models," Hsiao said.

There was some outcry following Google's unveiling of Gemini last year when it was claimed the demonstration video painted a misleading picture of its capabilities. The clip suggested some of the AI's actions were happening in real-time even though they weren't.

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Great. A new name to charge $$$ for something that was previously free (to the end user).