Google rolls out upgrade to AI chatbot Bard across UK

21 December 2023, 14:24

Google Bard AI chatbot technology
Google rolls out its Bard AI upgrade to the UK. Picture: PA

Google boss Sundar Pichai has hailed Gemini as its ‘most capable’ model yet and the biggest upgrade to Bard since it launched earlier this year.

Google has launched an upgrade to its artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, Bard, in the UK as part of the global roll-out of its next-generation model designed to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

The US tech giant and its London-based Deepmind division unveiled its long-promised new foundation model, Gemini, in Bard across the US and in more than 170 countries earlier this month, but had initially delayed the launch in the UK.

It will now be available across Bard in Britain, with other countries and languages set to follow “in the near future”.

Google’s Gemini model was launched initially in the US and other countries earlier this month (Google/PA)

Google and Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai hailed Gemini as its “most capable” generative AI model yet and the biggest upgrade to Bard since it launched earlier this year.

It will initially power text-based prompts, but Google said Gemini will expand to be “multi-modal” in the coming months, meaning it will be able to operate and combine different types of information across words, pictures, video and sound.

Debbie Weinstein, Google UK managing director and vice president, said: “From Shakespeare’s sonnets to Bowie’s ballads, the UK has a long and rich history of artistic and creative achievement; and the improved capabilities of Bard, powered by Gemini Pro, will supercharge that imagination.

“I can’t wait to see the results of a combination of the UK’s brilliant minds and Bard’s boundless possibilities.”

It comes as rapid advances in AI pick up pace, following ChatGPT’s latest release in March, with Google following suit amid a wave of next-generation generative AI models, which experts predict will be significantly more advanced.

Google claims Gemini is the first AI model to beat “human experts” in its range of intelligence tests.

The firm confirmed on launch earlier this month that it was granting the UK AI safety institute – unveiled at the Government’s recent AI Summit – with access to its most powerful AI models.

Google has fine-tuned Gemini Pro – one of three levels of the model – to be more capable in areas such as understanding, summarising, reasoning, coding and planning.

It is also working hard to further extend its capabilities for future versions, including advances in planning and memory and giving better responses.

Gemini will also be built into its Pixel 8 Pro smartphones, powering new features such as “summarise” in its recorder app, as well as “smart reply” in Google keyboard, starting with WhatsApp messaging.

The model will also be available across more products and services “in the coming months”, such as Search, Ads, Chrome and Duet AI, which is Google’s AI-powered cloud assistant, according to the group.

The group said it will be building in safeguards while working “collaboratively” with governments and experts to help head off the mounting risks from AI.

Gemini is the result of a “large scale” collaboration effort between teams across Google, including Deepmind and Google Research, according to the group.

By Press Association

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