Increasing talk of artificial intelligence developing with potentially dangerous speed is hardly slowing things down. A year after OpenAI launched ChatGPT and triggered a new race to develop AI technology, Google today revealed an AI project intended to reestablish the search giant as the world leader in AI.
Gemini, a new type of AI model that can work with text, images, and video, could be the most important algorithm in Google’s history after PageRank, which vaulted the search engine into the public psyche and created a corporate giant.
An initial version of Gemini starts to roll out today inside Google’s chatbot Bard for the English language setting. It will be available in more than 170 countries and territories. Google says Gemini will be made available to developers through Google Cloud’s API from December 13. A more compact version of the model will from today power suggested messaging replies from the keyboard of Pixel 8 smartphones. Gemini will be introduced into other Google products including generative search, ads, and Chrome in “coming months,” the company says. The most powerful Gemini version of all will debut in 2024, pending “extensive trust and safety checks,” Google says.
“It’s a big moment for us,” Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, told WIRED ahead of today’s announcement. “We’re really excited by its performance, and we’re also excited to see what people are going to do building on top of that.”
Gemini is described by Google as “natively multimodal,” because it was trained on images, video, and audio rather than just text, as the large language models at the heart of the recent generative AI boom are. “It’s our largest and most capable model; it’s also our most general,” Eli Collins, vice president of product for Google DeepMind, said at a press briefing announcing Gemini.
Google says there are three versions of Gemini: Ultra, the largest and most capable; Nano, which is significantly smaller and more efficient; and Pro, of medium size and middling capabilities.
From today, Google’s Bard, a chatbot similar to ChatGPT, will be powered by Gemini Pro, a change the company says will make it capable of more advanced reasoning and planning. Today, a specialized version of Gemini Pro is being folded into a new version of AlphaCode, a “research product” generative tool for coding from Google DeepMind. The most powerful version of Gemini, Ultra, will be put inside Bard and made available through a cloud API in 2024.