Google dropped a bombshell along with its rebranding of Bard to Gemini: unveiling its premium tier, Gemini Advanced. The move, which Sundar Pichai defined as “the next step in the Gemini era,” is the latest in Google's sprawling AI ambitions, placing them squarely in the ring with heavyweights like OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus.

While the core technology remains unchanged, the shift to the Gemini name signifies Google's intent to build a comprehensive ecosystem around its powerful AI model. This goes beyond its current use in search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Ads, with integration planned across search, Google’s office suite, and other core products throughout the year.

The real story lies beneath the surface.

Gemini Advanced throws down the gauntlet against ChatGPT Plus, boasting the multimodal prowess of Gemini Ultra 1.0, the most advanced version of Google’s AI model. ChatGPT Plus, by comparison, integrates GPT-4, GPT-Vision (image analysis), Dall-E 3 (image generation), and a code interpreter for $20 a month. Google is effectively offering the same capabilities for the same price.


This strategic move comes amidst Google's recent streamlining efforts, including significant employee layoffs and a renewed focus on AI as a key growth driver. The introduction of AI features in Pixel phones, and an investment in Anthropic—a rival to OpenAI with its own chatbot called Claude—further underscore this commitment.

Google isn't just playing catch-up. Its recently launched ImageFX has already stolen the spotlight, surpassing MidJourney and Dall-E 3 in photorealistic image generation. Once it is out of Google’s AI test kitchen, it is very likely that ImageFX will become the go-to model for users seeking to create realistic images instead of OpenAI’s already familiar cartoony generations.

Investors seem to be cheering Google's bold moves. The company's stock has surged nearly 5% this week, reaching $145.61 and inching closer to its all-time high of $151. The company is heavily focused on AI, just like other giants like Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta, which have also experienced significant growth since last year, with the onset of AI fever.

Image: Tradingview

During the company's latest earnings call, holding company Alphabet reported that its capital expenditures shot up 45% to $11 billion, in part due to its heavy investment in AI development. Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat told analysts on a conference call that Google is planning to increase that spending even more this year.

Whether you're a casual user or an AI enthusiast, Gemini is a strong competitor in the paid top-tier AI scene. Its multimodal chatbot offers seamless integration with Google services and can do the same things that made other chatbots so popular.

Deciding between ChatGPT and Gemini may ultimately depend on convenience over quality, but it will surely put some pressure on OpenAI’s dominance.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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