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Can Google Gemini AI finally rival ChatGPT? We’re about to find out

Published Dec 5th, 2023 10:19AM EST
Google's Gemini AI system revealed at Google I/O 2023.
Image: Google

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Google already has two ChatGPT rivals: Google Bard and Google Search SGE. But they don’t quite feel like ChatGPT alternatives, and they’re certainly not as popular. Gemini might change all of that. That’s Google’s big generative AI product that should rival OpenAI’s best ChatGPT model, GPT-4. We’ve been waiting for Gemini to arrive since summer, and it doesn’t look like we’ll get to use it on a daily basis anytime soon. But Google might be preparing some sort of launch event for later this week, if a new report is accurate.

Google planned to hold an in-person event for Gemini but then canceled those plans. Now, The Information says (via Gizmodo) that Google has planned a virtual launch event for the product.

It’s unclear why Google replaced the in-person events with a virtual demo, but it might not bode well. A virtual demo means no reporters can actually test Gemini.

The Information says there is still at least one glaring issue with Gemini, and that’s handling queries in languages other than English. That would be a big problem for a product that Google wants to ship worldwide. Generative AI products like GPT-4 and Gemini should handle multiple languages.

Also, Gemini should be multimodal like GPT-4. It should accept text prompts and images. It should also handle voice input too, which is a feature ChatGPT has — including the free version that most people use.

Google Assistant with Bard.
Google Assistant with Bard. Image source: Google

A demo of the still-unfinished version of Gemini might still be a win for Google in the current AI landscape. OpenAI went through a major shakeup in the past few weeks, firing and then rehiring its CEO for reasons that are still unknown. Some theories say that concerns surrounding a big breakthrough might be to blame, like a precursor to AGI. Others say that more petty differences between Sam Altman and the board might have caused the kerfuffle.

The postponement of the custom GPT store, combined with OpenAI still restricting ChatGPT Plus access, are also developments that work in Google’s favor. Now is certainly the time to bring Gemini out, assuming it can offer a decent experience that’s on par with GPT-4. So far, Google’s AI efforts like Bard and SGE have been lackluster, to say the least.

The arrival of Gemini wouldn’t just put pressure on OpenAI. It might also put the minds of Google investors at ease. ChatGPT is still seen as the leader in AI, and rightly so. ChatGPT was the iPhone moment of AI.

Google was late to that party but ended up operating the world’s most used mobile operating system. It might do the same thing with AI, though what I’m looking for is more competition that will hopefully drive safe innovation in the space.

I said back in August that Gemini might be the best thing that happened to ChatGPT. I was thinking of the real competition ChatGPT will get. Interestingly, OpenAI delivered several upgrades to ChatGPT since then. The chatbot can analyze images in prompts, and it can understand voice queries and respond via voice.

More importantly, OpenAI announced support for custom GPTs and a GPT marketplace that would launch soon. Google Bard or Search SGE lack such developments. But that’s where Gemini could come in. This is all speculation, but I suspect Google will also want to let AI developers create custom chatbots, just like OpenAI. 

Google has yet to announce its Gemini demo. Since this should be a virtual event, the company could make its announcement any time this week.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.