Did Google Really Fake Its Hands-on Gemini AI Video?

Google has come clean about how it made its Gemini AI hands-on video. We explain what's real, and what isn't.

What a difference a day makes. In the space of just over 24 hours, initial enthusiasm over the launch of Google's Gemini AI platform has subsided and in its place is controversy over the staging of its Gemini hands-on video.

That's because Google has been forced to admit that the initially impressive Gemini AI hands-on video it shared at the platform's launch was, well, not entirely real. Not entirely fake, but a representation of “what Gemini could look like” rather the kind of a real-time demo most people thought they were watching.

Of course, that's not to say that Gemini isn't still a major step forward for Google as it looks to keep pace with AI trailblazer ChatGPT. It's just perhaps not as much of a breakthrough as was first thought.

Was Google's Gemini AI Hands-on Video Real?

Yes and no, but definitely closer to the latter. The hands-on video shows how Gemini is capable of understanding “multimodal prompting,” which in plain English means understanding and interacting with text and image cues simultaneously.

What isn't legit is how Gemini's abilities are depicted. The video clearly depicts Gemini responding to a range of multimodal challenges in real-time, which isn't what happened.

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The discrepancy was initially reported by Bloomberg's Parmy Olson, who noted the Google's YouTube notes on the video as revealing that: “For the purposes of this demo, latency has been reduced and Gemini outputs have been shortened for brevity.”

How Gemini AI Hands-on Video Was Actually Made

What this actually means is that the demo “wasn't carried out in real time or in voice” and that, behind the sizzle reel of a final product, lies a series of more incremental prompts that were finely tuned to get to intended result.

In other words, to get to Gemini accurately identifying the game of rock, papers, scissors:

Screenshot of Google Gemini AI video showing rock, paper, scissors game

Image credit: Google via YouTube

You have to start with this, as showcased on the Google for Developers blog.

Google developer blog screenshot shows how Gemini AI video was made

Image credit: Google for Developers

As you can see, it definitely doesn't happen instantaneously, so it's no surprise Google is facing cloak and dagger accusations now the full back story of its Gemini hands-on video has come to light.

Google has since come clean in full, adding to The Verge that the intention of the video was to “inspire” rather than deceive:Β β€œAll the user prompts and outputs in the video are real, shortened for brevity. The video illustrates what the multimode user experiences built with Gemini could look like. We made it to inspire developers.”

Google Feeling the Heat From OpenAI

Coming second isn't really in Google's DNA, given its dominance of all things internet. Yet with OpenAI and ChatGPT the runaway AI industry leaders, that's exactly what the Mountain View-based company is having to reckon with as we look ahead to 2024 and beyond.

Gemini clearly has potential and there's little doubt that both ChatGPT vs Gemini and ChatGPT vs Bard – Gemini being the generative AI model Bard uses – are shaping up as the chatbot clashes to watch.

Gemini might still be great, it's just not quite as great as Google wants you to think it is right now.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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