Google's in-house AI chatbot Bard, will reportedly be changing its name to Gemini and launching a premium tier this week, according to a recently leaked document from Google ad developer Dylan Rousell.
In the chatbot's most major revamp to date, Google Bard will also be launching an Android app and improving its user interface to “reduce visual distractions, improve legibility, and simplify navigation”, the document reads.
If you're a current Bard user or are considering switching from its chatbot competitor ChatGPT, here's everything you need to know about Google Bard's upcoming makeover.
Goodbye Google Bard, Hello Gemini
Google Bard is dropping its name and rebranding to Gemini, coordinating with its multimodal AI model of the same name.
While Google is yet to confirm the change officially, news of its transformation was leaked in a Google changelog under the heading “Bard is now Gemini”. The document, which also lists other important updates about the chatbot, was dated February 7, suggesting that changes will go live this Wednesday.
Google added a new changelog for Bard, and — oh boy — it's a big one!— Dylan Roussel (@evowizz) February 3, 2024
The availability in Canada is awesome! That said I don't really understand the limitations with the app. That's disappointing as someone who lives in Europe.
Oh by the way... https://t.co/xM2snHVYJ9 is real. pic.twitter.com/QKgKrRjmM4
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With the word Bard meaning poet or storyteller – as in William Shakespeare's epithet the Bard of Avalon' – the name was originally intended to reflect the chatbot's linguistic capabilities. It's also been rumored that the name took inspiration from the fantasy role-play game Dungeons and Dragons, which features playable characters called Bards.
However, popularity among literary and gaming nerds aside, Google Bard's new name ultimately makes much more sense, as the AI model Gemini was integrated into the chatbot last December.
Google Gemini to Roll Out an Advanced Plan
A name change isn't the only thing coming to Google Bard. According to Google's recent changelog leaked on social platform X, the chatbot will also be launching a new “Advanced” tier.
Gemini's Advanced tier was first announced in December 2023, and was built using Google's most sophisticated AI model Gemini Ultra. The plan will boast a number of upgrades from the free service, including “expanded multi-modal capabilities,” better coding support, and “the ability to upload and more deeply analyze files, documents, data, and more”, the document reads.
The plan is expected to be rolled out alongside the other changes on February 7. It will be available in over 150 countries but will be optimized for the English language first. It is unclear how much the premium tier will cost, but its launch is expected to increase competition between Google Bard (now Gemini) and ChatGPT, as the advanced plan is expected to close the gap between the chatbot's coding and reasoning abilities.
What Other Changes Are Coming to Bard?
In a win for Android users, the document also revealed that the chatbot will be launching a new app built specifically for the operating system. Gemini for Android will let users interact via “text, voice or images” and the app will also seamlessly integrate into all G-Suite apps, and platforms like YouTube.
The changelog notes that the new app will only be available on “select devices” at first, which are likely to be Tensor-powered Pixels and the Galaxy S23 according to previous reports from 9to5google.
There are also rumors about a new messaging feature, which would let users add a contact page for the chatbot and conserve with it as they would do with regular contacts in a similar way to Snapchat. If substantiated, these changes will mark the chatbot's biggest-ever transformation and also send a clear signal to competitors like OpenAI and Apple that Google isn't shy of investing heavily in its AI future.