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Gemini AI updates, new search features and more

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O developer conference.

Andrej Sokolow | Alliance in pictures | Getty Images

Google held its annual I/O Developer Conference on Tuesday and rolled out a range of artificial intelligence products, from new search and chat features to AI hardware for cloud customers. These announcements underscore the company’s focus on AI as it fends off competitors, such as OpenAI.

Most of the features or tools Google unveiled are only in testing or limited to developers, but they give an idea of ​​how Google thinks about AI and where it is investing. Google makes money from AI by charging developers who use its models and customers who pay for Gemini Advanced, its ChatGPT competitor, which costs $19.99 a month and can help users summarize PDFs , Google Docs and more.

Tuesday’s announcements follow similar events held by its AI competitors. Earlier this month, AmazonAnthropic-backed company announced its first-ever enterprise offering and a free iPhone app. Meanwhile, OpenAI launched a new AI model and a desktop version of ChatGPT on Monday, along with a new user interface.

Here’s what Google announced.

Gemini AI Updates

Google has introduced updates to Gemini 1.5 Pro, its AI model that will soon be able to handle even more data: for example, the tool can summarize 1,500 pages of text uploaded by a user.

There’s also a new Gemini 1.5 Flash AI model, which the company says is more cost-effective and designed for smaller tasks like quickly summarizing conversations, captioning images and videos, and extracting data from large documents.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai highlighted the improvements to Gemini’s translations, adding that they will be available to all developers around the world in 35 languages. In Gmail, Gemini 1.5 Pro will analyze attached PDFs and videos, giving summaries and more, Pichai said. This means that if you missed a long thread on vacation, Gemini will be able to summarize it with all attachments.

The new Gemini updates are also useful for searching in Gmail. An example the company gives: If you’ve compared prices from different contractors to repair your roof and are looking for a summary to help you decide who to choose, Gemini might return you three quotes along with the expected start dates offered in the different emails. son.

Google has said that Gemini will eventually replace Google Assistant on Android phones, meaning it will become a stronger competitor. Apples Siri on iPhone.

Google Veo, Imagen 3 and audio previews

Google announced “Veo”, its latest model for generating high-definition videos, and Imagen 3, its highest quality text-to-image conversion model, which promises realistic images and “fewer distracting visual artifacts than our models precedents.

The tools will be available to select creators on Monday and will be integrated with Vertex AI, Google’s machine learning platform that allows developers to train and deploy AI applications. In the meantime, there will be a waiting list.

The company also introduced “Audio Previews,” the ability to generate audio chats based on text input. For example, if a user uploads a lesson plan, the chatbot can present a summary of it. Or, if you’re requesting an example of a real-life science problem, you can do so via interactive audio.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai: We can do much better searches on Google with generative AI

Separately, the company also introduced “AI Sandbox”, a range of generative AI tools for creating music and sounds from scratch, based on user prompts.

Generative AI tools such as chatbots and image makers, however, continue to experience accuracy issues.

Google Search Director Prabhakar Raghavan told employees last month that competitors “may have a new gadget that people like to play with, but they still come to Google to check out what they see because that it’s the reliable source, and that becomes more critical.” in the era of generative AI.”

Earlier this year, Google introduced the Gemini-powered image generator. Users discovered historical inaccuracies that went viral online and the company removed the feature, saying it would relaunch it in the coming weeks. The feature has still not been re-released.

New search features

Google is launching “AI Previews” in Google Search on Monday in the United States. AI previews show a quick summary of answers to the most complex search questions, according to Liz Reid, head of Google Search. For example, if a user searches for the best way to clean leather boots, the results page might display an “AI Overview” at the top with a multi-step cleaning process, gleaned from the information synthesized on the Web.

The company said it plans to introduce wizard-like scheduling capabilities directly into search. he explains that users will be able to search for something like “Create a 3-day meal plan for a group that’s easy to prepare” and you’ll get a starting point with a wide range of recipes from around the web. »

As for its progress toward offering “multimodality,” or integrating more images and videos into generative AI tools, Google said it would begin testing the ability for users to ask questions by video, such as filming a problem with a product they own, uploading it and asking the search engine to understand the problem. In one example, Google showed someone filming a broken record player while wondering why it wasn’t working. Google search found the model of the record player and suggested that it might be malfunctioning because it was not properly balanced.

Another new feature being tested called “AI Teammate” will integrate into a user’s Google workspace. It can create a searchable work collection from email messages and threads with more PDFs and documents. For example, a future founder might ask their AI teammate, “Are we ready to launch?” and the assistant will provide analysis and summary based on information it can access in Gmail, Google Docs, and other Workspace apps.

Astra Project

Project Astra is Google’s latest push toward its AI assistant built by Google’s DeepMind AI unit. It’s just a prototype for now, but you can see Google’s goal in developing its own version of JARVIS, Tony Stark’s omniscient AI assistant from the Marvel universe.

In the demo video shown at Google I/O, the assistant – via video and audio, rather than a chatbot interface – was able to help the user remember where they left their glasses, to revise code and answer questions about what a certain part of a system is. the speaker is called, when that speaker was shown on the video.

Google said that a truly useful chatbot should allow users to “talk to it naturally and without lag or delay.” The conversation in the demo video happened in real time, with no lag. The demo followed OpenAI’s Monday presentation of a similar audio chat with ChatGPT.

Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, said on stage that “reducing the response time to something conversational is a difficult engineering challenge.”

Pichai said he expects Project Astra to launch in Gemini later this year.

AI hardware

Finally, Google announced Trillium, its sixth-generation TPU or tensor processing unit – an essential piece of hardware for running complex AI operations – which will be available to cloud customers in late 2024.

TPUs are not intended to compete with other chips, like from Nvidia graphics processing units. Pichai noted during I/O, for example, that Google Cloud would begin offering Nvidia’s Blackwell GPUs in early 2025.

Nvidia said in March that Google would use the Blackwell platform for “various internal deployments and would be one of the first cloud providers to offer Blackwell-powered instances,” and that access to Nvidia’s systems will help Google offer large-scale tools for businesses. developers build large language models.

In his speech, Pichai highlighted Google’s “long-standing partnership with Nvidia.” The companies have worked together for more than a decade, and Pichai has said in the past that he expects them to continue doing so a decade from now.

WATCH: CNBC’s full interview with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

Watch CNBC's full interview with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

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