Google unveils Gemini AI model as it goes head to head with ChatGPT

New AI model is ‘most advanced’ to date

Google’s parent company Alphabet has opened access to its most advanced artificial intelligence model, capable of analysing video and audio, but Irish users will have to wait to use it.

Dubbed Gemini, the new AI model is being launched in more than 170 countries worldwide, but it will not be available in Europe yet, including Ireland and the UK.

The technology will allow Google’s AI to analyse text, images, audio and video and answer more complex queries. Gemini can also understand, explain and generate high-quality code in programming languages, such as Python, Java, C++ and Go.

The launch steps up the competition between Google and OpenAI, which launched ChatGPT to the public last year. The latter has seen significant investment from Microsoft, which has built OpenAI into some of of its “copilot” assistants for its products.

READ MORE

Gemini has been designed to be flexible, running effectively in a range of environments, from data centres to mobile devices. The first version of the model, Gemini 1.0, will come in three version: Ultra, the largest and most powerful model aimed at highly complex tasks; Pro, for scaling across a range of tasks; and Nano, for on-device tasks.

Bard, Google’s generative AI service, will use the Pro model. Next year, the company plans to launch Bard Advanced next year, a cutting-edge AI product that would gives users access to Gemini Ultra. Google is currently in talks with AI safety bodies over testing Gemini Ultra.

Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai described Gemini as “our most capable and general model yet”.

“This new era of models represents one of the biggest science and engineering efforts we’ve undertaken as a company,” he said in a blog post.

In addition to being integrated into Bard, Gemini will also be used in other Google products such as Search, Ads, Chrome and Duet AI. The technology will also be built in to the company’s Pixel 8 Pro device, used to help summarise voice memos in the on-device recorder app, and smart replies for the Google keyboard.

“This is a significant milestone in the development of AI, and the start of a new era for us at Google as we continue to rapidly innovate and responsibly advance the capabilities of our models,” Google said in a blog post.

“We’ve made great progress on Gemini so far and we’re working hard to further extend its capabilities for future versions, including advances in planning and memory, and increasing the context window for processing even more information to give better responses.”

Initially available in English, there are plans to make the technology available in other languages and countries in the near future.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist