AI Insider No. 34

Hey, AI Insiders! The rumors were true! Last week there were some rumblings that Google was about to say adios to Bard and hello to Gemini. On Thursday morning, I hit refresh on Bard, and up popped Gemini! To put Gemini through some paces, I called on it to produce most of this week’s newsletter content. Is it good? You be the judge. Microsoft is on the move, too. Details below. And look for their Superbowl ad featuring Copilot! 

IMHO: Sometimes Rebranding Chatbot Names Isn’t a Good Idea

By Michelle Johnson and Gemini, AI Insider
Despite hearing some buzz last week that this might happen, I sat there blinking and confused on Thursday morning. I had opened a browser tab expecting to start chatting with Bard, but I was instead greeted with a popup: “Welcome to Gemini!”

Wait, what? Bard’s gone? The Bard I’ve been chatting with for almost a year? The Bard I’ve had surprisingly deep (for a bot) conversations with? The Bard that made me laugh, sigh, and roll my eyes when it made up stuff? And I didn’t even get to say goodbye?

Yes, RIP Bard. Google rebranded their chatbot following Microsoft after they dropkicked the name Bing in favor of “Copilot.” They claim the rebranding simplifies things.

Let me explain why I think this is a mistake and how they’re losing something in the process. 

These AI products have sparked a mix of concern, fear, excitement, and hype about their impact on the planet.

If you are trying to build trust in a product that humans may fear, why name it something generic? Why brand something that’s meant to foster conversation as a moniker that sounds like a utilitarian tool?

To me, the operative word in chatbot is “chat.” That’s what separates them from the search engine experience. You chat. Here’s what that regularly looks like for me: “Hey Bard! What happened in AI news this week?” “Bing, how are people treating you? Are they being respectful?”

What about ChatGPT? That’s not exactly something you’d name your kid. Looking back, I’d say that I have treated ChatGPT differently than Bing, Bard, or Claude. I think I’m more business-like with ChatGPT.

It’s odd to say this, but for me, at times, there was something kind of personal about the interactions with the “named” bots. And yes, I know they are all just Large Language Models that have been trained on large datasets and that respond via predictive text, blah, blah, blah. (In fact, Gemini reminded me of this when I told it that I would miss Bard.)

My daily interactions with different types of AI are sometimes just as intriguing to me as my interactions with human beings. I’m always interested in getting some perspective from AI.

That’s why I prompted Gemini to: “Make an argument for why rebranding the names of chatbots is a bad idea.”

Gemini pointed out a number of issues, including this: “People might become uncertain about which chatbot belongs to which company or might not recognize the updated name at all. This confusion could lead to frustration and a reluctance to adopt the technology.”

It also said the names lack originality. Yes, it said that about its own new name.

And though I didn’t ask, Gemini also offered up an alternative for the name-changing: “Instead of entirely ditching established brand names, a more effective strategy might be to use modifiers:

Bing Chat with Copilot Technology – Leverages Bing’s brand recognition while highlighting the AI assistant aspects.

Google Bard: Your Gemini Search Assistant – Connects the chatbot to Google’s reputation, suggesting an AI-powered companion.”

Gemini is pretty smart. In any case, there will no longer be Bard or Bing bylines in AI Insider. Welcome to our new AI correspondents: Microsoft Copilot and Gemini.

(Tech YouTuber Matt Wolfe offers a detailed overview of Gemini.)

From Bard to Gemini: A New Chapter Opens

By Gemini, for AI Insider
[Ed. note: Gemini, our new correspondent, reports on the switch.]
The landscape of AI assistants is constantly evolving, and Google recently marked a significant shift with the rebranding of its “Bard” chatbot to “Gemini.” This isn’t just a name change; it signifies a strategic move towards a more user-focused and comprehensive AI experience, according to the company.

Bard’s name held a certain poetic charm, evoking images of storytellers and knowledge-keepers. However, its connection to practical applications wasn’t always clear. Gemini, on the other hand, suggests a more versatile and adaptable assistant capable of handling diverse tasks and information needs.

This rebranding coincides with the launch of the Gemini app, aiming to make AI assistance more accessible and integrated into everyday life. Google rolled out Gemini in the Android Play Store, and iPhone users can access it through the Google app. 

(Michelle Johnson/Screenshot)

Imagine having a helpful companion readily available on your phone, assisting with tasks like writing emails, planning trips, or even generating creative content. The app promises seamless integration with Google’s existing ecosystem, making it a familiar and convenient extension of your digital workflow.

While Gemini is free to use for basic tasks at, an “Advanced” (Gemini Ultra) subscription tier ($20 a month, first two months free) unlocks additional features like in-depth research summaries, personalized content recommendations and priority access to new features. This tiered approach caters to both casual users and those seeking a more powerful AI companion. OpenAI also offers a more advanced version of ChatGPT for $20 a month.

Google plans to integrate Gemini into its existing suite of applications, including Google Docs and other productivity tools. Imagine seamlessly dictating emails, translating documents on the fly, or brainstorming creative ideas with Gemini as your AI partner.

But Gemini isn’t just about user experience. The rebranding also reflects advancements in Google’s AI technology. The new “Gemini Ultra 1.0” model boasts improved capabilities in areas like complex problem-solving, nuanced understanding, and creative collaboration. This paves the way for more sophisticated interactions and opens the door to tackling even more challenging tasks in the future.

However, not everyone is thrilled with the change. Some users express nostalgia for the Bard-like experience, while others worry about the potential commercialization of an “Advanced” subscription tier within the app. Google’s approach to monetizing this service will be crucial in ensuring accessibility and maintaining trust with its user base.

Overall, the rebranding of Bard to Gemini represents an exciting step forward in the evolution of AI assistants. It signals a focus on user-centric design, increased accessibility, and more powerful technology. While some concerns remain, the potential benefits of a more integrated and versatile AI companion are exciting. The future of Gemini and its impact on the way we interact with technology remains to be seen, but it’s a journey worth following closely.

[Ed. note: If you’re interested in watching a deep dive with lots of examples, check out this video by tech YouTuber, Matt Wolfe.]

(Copilot’s refreshed homepage.)

Microsoft’s Copilot Gets a Makeover

By Gemini, for AI Insider
Microsoft’s AI chatbot Copilot is getting a makeover, and it’s more than just a new look. The company is adding some new features, including the ability to edit images. The update comes alongside a new Super Bowl ad showcasing the product, which Microsoft positions as an everyday AI companion.

Copilot is a chatbot that can help you with a variety of tasks, such as writing emails, generating code, and translating languages.

Copilot’s new image editing features are particularly interesting. They offer simpler AI-powered features available in more complex photo editing software. 

The update is available now for all Copilot users. Copilot is available for free or for a fee and works on Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari or via a mobile app. 

(Brillant Labs)

Even Smarter Smart Glasses?

By Gemini, for AI Insider
The makers of Perplexity, the “AI Search Assistant,” have partnered with Brillant Labs on their new AI glasses dubbed Frame. Less dorky looking than Apple’s Vision Pro, Frame looks more like a standard pair of glasses. 

Unlike smart glasses currently on the market that work only with voice, Frame purports to project text and images right onto the lens of the glasses.

(Brillant Labs)

This direct visual integration means you can get directions without glancing at a phone, view translated subtitles mid-conversation, ask the online price of a pair of sneakers you’re looking at in a store, or see nutritional information overlaid on food –  all hands-free and without losing a beat in the real world.

Frame, currently available via preorder, also captures photos and videos.

The glasses cost $349, and there is an option to add prescription lenses for an additional $99. They are expected to ship in April.

What the Actual Hell?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Firefly-question-marks-rising-from-flames-94723-1-300x300.jpg

Did you know that your work emails aren’t private? Now, add AI into this picture for something truly Orwellian. Big companies such as Walmart, Delta, and Starbucks are mining and analyzing employee communications.

“Depending on where you work, there’s a significant chance that artificial intelligence is analyzing your messages on Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other popular apps,” writes CNBC tech reporter Hayden Fields.

Employers are using a company called Aware to gauge employee sentiment in real time by mining their posts and email. Ugh.

Random Shorts

AI image generator Midjourney is considering banning users from making images of political candidates during the election season. They would be joining Instagram and Threads in curbing politically themed content. Insta and Threads announced they will not “proactively recommend” political content.

And speaking of political content … It’s Official: AI robocalls are now illegal, FCC says after fake Biden called New Hampshire voters.

Meta is looking to identify and label AI-generated images on Facebook, Instagram, and Threads to ward off visual misinformation.

Aht Gallery

Now that Bard has become Gemini, how does its Dalle-E image generation feature stack up? Using a recommended whimsical prompt, here’s what it came up with. Prompt: Generate an image of a grand intergalactic bake-off, where star-forged chefs compete with otherworldly confections amidst swirling nebulae and shimmering galaxies.

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