Earlier today, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently joined CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to discuss significant developments at Google, particularly focusing on the company’s AI rebranding from Bard to Gemini and the introduction of a new paid version termed “Gemini Advanced” or “Gemini Ultra.”

The discussion with co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin covered various topics, including the strategic shift towards Gemini, the capabilities of the new AI model, and its implications for users and the broader tech landscape.

Pichai explained that the rebranding to Gemini represents a more direct way for users to interact with Google’s most capable, safe, and responsible AI models. The name change signifies a shift towards offering users direct access to the underlying Gemini model, facilitating advancements in AI technology and user experience.

Gemini Advanced, described as Google’s response to ChatGPT Plus, introduces users to “Ultra 1.0,” which Pichai highlighted as Google’s most capable model to date. This version is tailored for power users and professionals who seek a more collaborative partner, especially in complex queries and multi-task scenarios. It boasts excellent workspace integration and is designed to be natively multimodal, handling queries involving images with remarkable proficiency.

A significant advancement in Gemini includes its ability to understand and process a series of images, akin to video understanding. This capability stems from the model’s training data, which, for the first time, natively included not just text but also audio, images, video, and code. This comprehensive approach allows the model to interpret the world with a richness of information, mirroring human perception.

Pichai shared insights into the challenges faced during the upgrade cycle, particularly emphasizing the complexities of training large models, ensuring their safety, and deploying them at scale. He envisions 2024 as the beginning of the “Gemini era,” indicating a significant shift towards more advanced, scalable AI models that will be accessible to consumers, developers, and enterprises alike.

On a personal note, Pichai mentioned using Gemini to brush up on his coding skills and shared an anecdote about a friend utilizing Gemini for real estate purposes, showcasing the model’s practical applications in everyday scenarios.

In a blog post by Sundar Pichai that was published today, Google’s commitment to AI is highlighted as a key strategy to improve Search and all its products. Pichai specifically mentions the “Search Generative Experience” (SGE) in Search Labs, underlining AI’s pivotal role in the growth of Google’s Cloud and Workspace services, as well as the Google One subscription service nearing 100 million subscribers.

Pichai announced the beginning of the “Gemini era” in December 2023, marking a new state of the art across AI benchmarks. According to Pichai, Gemini is more than just models; it’s an ecosystem supporting products, APIs, and platforms for innovation. He says the launch of Ultra 1.0, which apparently outperforms human experts in massive multitask language understanding (MMLU), was a significant milestone.

In his post, Pichai explains the transition from Bard to Gemini, indicating the advanced technology behind Gemini, now available in 40 languages and soon on Android and iOS through a new app. Gemini Advanced is set to enhance reasoning, following instructions, coding, and creative collaboration, offering unique experiences like personal tutoring and creative partnership, as detailed by Pichai.

Pichai also talks about the Google One AI Premium plan, which will provide access to Gemini Advanced. This plan is an extension of the popular Google One service, featuring expanded storage and exclusive product features, aimed at integrating the best of Google’s AI into one package.

Pichai goes on to say that Gemini models will be integrated into everyday products for individuals and businesses, enhancing Workspace and Google Cloud services. Pichai notes that over 1 million people are already using Workspace features like “Help me write,” which will be incorporated into Gemini for Workspace, showcasing Gemini’s impact on productivity and creativity.

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