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Google Launches 'Gemini' AI Assistant with Powerful New Capabilities

Google has officially launched its next-generation AI assistant, now known as Gemini. Previously teased under the name 'Bard', Gemini represents Google's most advanced AI model to date and delivers a major upgrade in functionality across multiple platforms.

The name change from Bard to Gemini is meant to reflect how users will directly interact with Google's AI models. The previous Bard branding has been discontinued on the web and Gemini is now available as standalone mobile apps on Android and iOS.

"Our mission with Bard has always been to give you direct access to our AI models, and Gemini represents our most capable family of models," a Google spokesperson explained.

The core free version of Gemini is available to all users and provides access to the 'Gemini Pro 1.0' model. This replaces the previous Bard web interface with an updated gemini.google.com website featuring a new navigation sidebar with user settings, activity history, and help documentation. The free tier remains powered by the same underlying AI as before but has picked up new features like an integrated image generator.

Gemini Advanced Unlocks Premium AI Features

For users wanting more advanced capabilities, Google has launched a new 'Gemini Advanced' subscription service. This premium offering provides access to the significantly more powerful 'Gemini Ultra 1.0 model, described as "far more capable" with coding, logical reasoning, understanding complex prompts, creative collaboration, and other demanding tasks.

Gemini Advanced can essentially function as a highly sophisticated personal AI tutor and coding assistant. Google envisions users leveraging its step-by-step guidance for activities like studying a subject in-depth or prototyping software workflows. The company is touting exceptional performance in blind third-party evaluations versus alternative chatbots.

Over time, Google plans to expand Gemini Advanced with additional features like enhanced multimodal communication and improved coding collaboration tools. Looking ahead, the service will also gain capabilities to understand and analyze specific user files and data.

To access Gemini Advanced, users will need a new 'Google One AI Premium' subscription costing $19.99 per month. This builds on the existing $9.99 per month Google One Premium 2TB cloud storage plan by unlocking full access to the Gemini Ultra 1.0 model.

Google One AI Premium Price

Gemini Advanced joins a forthcoming lineup of AI-powered features destined for future integration with core Google Workspace apps like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Meet. Many of these capabilities seem to represent a rebrand and expansion of previously announced 'Duet AI' services like the ' Help Me Write' assistant, which was already available in limited capacity to enterprise customers for $30 per user per month.

Alongside the Gemini launches, Sundar Pichai CEO of Google and Alphabet, announced that Google One has surpassed 100 million paying subscribers. Google is promoting a free two-month trial of the new AI Premium tier for interested users to test drive the advanced Gemini Ultra access.

Gemini Mobile Apps Provide Integrated AI Experience on Android and iOS

As part of the Gemini rollout, Google has also released corresponding mobile apps on Android and iOS to provide an optimized, platform-integrated experience for accessing its AI models beyond just the website interface.

On Android, users can launch Gemini via a home screen shortcut, power menu, corner swipe gesture, or "Hey Google" voice command. While delivered as a standalone app listing, Gemini is still backed by the same Google app framework as Assistant to provide key platform-level hooks and integration.

The Android app interface provides the expected conversation panel with text input, voice commands, and image upload capabilities. This grants access to powerful multimodal workflows like taking a photo of a flat tire and asking Gemini to explain how to fix it, or getting answers related to web pages you're currently reading in other apps.

Google Gemini AI

Multimodal Workflows Let You Combine Text, Voice, and Images with Gemini

Core AI capabilities extend to text and image generation in addition to querying other Google services like Maps, Flights, and YouTube through the supported 'Extensions' system. 

Functionality broadly mirrors the web version with one-tap sharing, copying, and confirmation of generated responses. Classic Google Assistant smart home, timer, and calling functionality remains in place in parallel but severely limited compared to Gemini.

Meanwhile, on iOS, Gemini is not available as a separate app but has been integrated directly into the existing Google app. A new Gemini tab accessible from the Google Discover feed provides the key AI interface on iPhone, once again delivering functionally identical to the web and Android versions.

To cap off the Gemini announcements, Google revealed ambitious plans to continue evolving its AI technology into a "true assistant" with conversational awareness and helpful multimodal capabilities. The launch of the Gemini apps represents just an initial "first step" with more platform integrations and language support coming soon.

Google Gemini is available on Android and iOS in the US starting this week, with expanded global rollouts planned in the coming weeks and months. At launch, the services are limited to English but Google is already working to add support for Japanese, Korean, and multiple European languages in the near future.

With Gemini, Google is setting the stage for an AI-powered mobile future backed by some of the most advanced conversational models in the industry. While certain key capabilities remain limited to paid subscribers, the free baseline experience already represents a major step up in user-friendly AI that will no doubt capture the interest and imagination of millions.

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