Gemini is Google’s artificial intelligence ecosystem, including a chatbot that generates responses to user-provided natural language prompts. In response to a prompt, Gemini can pull information from the internet and present a response. The large language model behind Gemini delivers the response in natural language — in contrast to a standard Google search, where a result consists of a snippet of information or a list of links.
Google announced Gemini (as Bard) in February 2023 after OpenAI and Microsoft both garnered attention for AI chatbot systems. And in May 2023, AI advancements featured prominently in Google’s I/O event. On Feb. 8, 2024, Google renamed the AI products formerly named Bard to Gemini.
What is Google Gemini used for?
Google Gemini is the overarching term for an ecosystem of generative AI models and services, including natural language querying, assistants, content generation and code writing. Gemini’s prompt-response process can help you obtain answers faster than a standard Google search sequence.
A classic Google search requires you to enter a natural language query or keywords, follow links, review content and then compile the results or repeat the process with a refined search.
SEE: Check out these Google AI search prompting tips.
With Gemini, you enter a prompt, then review the response. If the response isn’t exactly what you want, you have at least three options:
- View other drafts to display alternatively formatted responses.
- Regenerate the response to have the system craft a new reply.
- Follow-up with another prompt.
Gemini can handle all sorts of tasks, but many of the most common uses are covered by the categories of capabilities detailed below.
Google Gemini can summarize
As a generative AI assistant powered by a large language model, Gemini can adeptly summarize text. For example, provide a link to a web page and ask Gemini to summarize the contents, e.g.:
Please summarize https://blog.google/technology/ai/bard-google-ai-search-updates/.
You also can suggest a specific length if you want a particular degree of brevity, such as “Please summarize in 100 words.”
Google Gemini can compare
Gemini can compare two or more items. In many cases, when you ask Gemini to compare things, the system will display some of the data in a table. For example, if you prompt Gemini:
Compare a Pixel 7, Pixel 7a and Samsung Galaxy S23.
Similarly, you may ask Gemini to compare web pages.
Google Gemini can suggest
Gemini may serve as a suggestion engine for products, services or activities. Enter the title of books, music or movies you like, then ask Gemini to suggest others. This can be useful when you’re researching unfamiliar topics. For example, you might try:
I am interested in learning the history of machine learning. Can you recommend 10 useful and highly respected books on the topic?
Google Gemini can explain
When you want to learn about a topic or historical event, you can ask Gemini to explain it to you. If you like, you may suggest a desired level in order to guide the system toward an explanation that may be either easier to understand or more detailed. For a general overview of a core technology that helps make Gemini work, you might ask:
Can you explain the basics of how neural networks operate? Explain it to me as if I am in my first year of college.
Google Gemini can brainstorm
One of the best uses of a chatbot is to gather a long list of ideas. Ask Gemini to “Brainstorm ideas for…” followed by whatever topic you wish, such as a new project, promotional effort or paper. Encourage Gemini to provide creative, unusual or inventive ideas for additional variety in the responses.
Google Gemini can code and debug
In April 2023, Google added the ability to create and help debug code in more than 20 programming languages. When you ask for code, make sure to specify the programming language and describe in as much detail as possible the code you need. If the code generated doesn’t work, let Gemini know what exactly went awry, and ask for a suggested fix or for help interpreting an error code.
SEE: Explore other Google AI enhancements.
Gemini can draft text
Gemini can help you write, too. As with most prompts, provide as much detail about the topic, length, format (blog post, poem, essay, book report, etc.) and style as possible. If you have a rough outline of a blog post, you might include the desired points in your prompt. For this section of text, for example, you might prompt:
Using the following points as an outline, can you draft examples and explanatory text? "Gemini can summarize. Gemini can compare. Gemini can suggest. Gemini can explain. Gemini can brainstorm. Gemini can draft text. Gemini can code (and debug). Gemini can search."
The responses Gemini generated were reasonable and might have required only a little editing and correction to be usable.
Google makes it easy to move Gemini text elsewhere. Select the response export button to move content to either a new Google Doc or Gmail. Alternatively, select the More button (the three vertical dots), then choose Copy to place the response text on the system clipboard for pasting into any app of your choice. (Using Gemini in Gmail or Docs requires the Google One AI Premium plan.)
Gemini can search
Since Gemini can access internet content, many conventional keyword searches will also work in Gemini. Ask about current news topics, weather forecasts or pretty much any standard keyword search string. However, Gemini will provide responses mostly in conventional text, sometimes supplemented with images, whereas Google search may show content in custom formats (e.g., weather forecasts often display a chart). When you seek a set of links, switch out of Gemini back to a standard Google search.
As of September 2023, people who sign in to Gemini with personal Google accounts may optionally enable extensions. These extensions allow Gemini to draw data from other Google services, including Google Flights, Hotels, Maps, Workspace (Gmail, Docs and Drive) and YouTube.
Google Gemini can create images
As of Feb. 1, Google’s Imagen 2 image generation technology was interoperable with Gemini , letting users create images in Search (SGE), Ads, Duet AI in Workspace and Vertex AI.
At the same time on Feb. 1, Google announced ImageFX, a distinct image generation tool based on Imagen 2. Its prompt interface works based on a new type of prompt, “expressive chips.” Google said expressive chips “let you quickly experiment with adjacent dimensions of your creation and ideas.” ImageFX is available in Google’s AI Test Kitchen in the English language to users in US, Kenya, New Zealand and Australia.
Images created with Imagen 2 are marked with the SynthID watermark and IPTC metadata.
Gemini can be wrong
Gemini can get things wrong. Select the Double-check Response to take the generated text, search Google for it and then highlight supporting sources in light green and those not found in light orange. Never rely solely on content provided in Gemini responses without verification. When Gemini does provide an inaccurate, misleading or inappropriate response, select the thumbs down icon to convey to the system that it provided a bad response.
What are Gemini’s limitations?
Even the Double-check It with Google feature may make mistakes. As a generative AI chatbot, Gemini provides content that may seem accurate, but it should always be considered carefully, reviewed thoroughly and checked before use.
In addition, Gemini has a limited context window, which means that it may “forget” content in a long conversation.
When was Google Gemini released?
At launch in March 2023, Google limited Gemini access (known as Bard at the time) via a waitlist to people with personal Google accounts. In early May 2023, Google eliminated the waitlist and made Gemini more widely available.
How can you get access to Google Gemini?
To access Gemini, go to https://gemini.google.com in a web browser, and sign in with a Google account (Figure A).
If your account is managed by a Google Workspace administrator, such as an account for work or school, the administrator may adjust settings to either allow or prevent access to Gemini. Check with your administrator, should you have any questions.
If you are a Google Workspace administrator and wish to review or adjust the settings that affect Gemini availability for people in your organization, access the Admin console | Apps | Additional Google services | Early Access Apps, then modify the Service status and Core Data Access Permissions as desired.
As of Feb. 8, Gemini is available for mobile on Android and in the Google app on iOS.
On Feb. 21, Google added two new options for accessing Gemini: Gemini for Workspace, a subscription for Google Workspace that adds a natural language chatbot; and Gemini Enterprise, which adds language translation and will soon be able to provide automated meeting notes.
What countries and languages is Google Gemini available in?
Gemini is available in more than 230 countries and territories, including all 27 European Union countries (e.g., Germany, France, Italy and Spain) as well as Brazil.
Gemini is available in more than 40 languages. And, according to Google’s support pages, Gemini supports not only seven of the most widely spoken languages — English, Chinese (Simplified/Traditional), Hindi, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali and French — but also Japanese, Korean, Bahasa Indonesia, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, German, Gujarati, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Kannada, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Marathi, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Can I manage my Gemini activity history?
Yes, Google gives you control over your Gemini activity history, much as it does your search and browsing history. To adjust the settings, select the Activity icon (a clock surrounded by a counter-clockwise pointing arrow and line) from the upper-right area. Then, you may choose whether Activity history is on or off (Figure B).
If on, you may choose to Auto-delete activity after three, 18 or 36 months or not at all. Additionally, you may access your activity history, which can be helpful if you wish to review or rerun a previous prompt.
Is Google Gemini free to use?
Yes, Google Gemini is available to use for free. Google Gemini is free of advertising as well. There is a higher tier called Gemini Advanced, which allows access to the larger LLM Ultra 1.0. Gemini Advanced is part of the $19.99 Google One AI Premium plan,
Gemini Business costs $20 per user per month on top of a Google Workspace subscription. A one-year commitment is required.
Gemini Enterprise costs $30 per user per month. A one-year commitment is required.
Is it safe to use Google Gemini?
Google requires you to be 18 years of age or older to use Gemini. An administrator must specifically choose to allow access to Gemini for accounts connected to a Google Workspace organization. Even if allowed, you should make sure your use of Gemini complies with your organization’s policies.
Google takes measures to make Gemini useful and helpful but also prominently notes that the system “may display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn’t represent Google’s views.” To preserve privacy, do not share any personal or private information with Gemini in your prompts.
Is Google Gemini using PaLM 2?
As of December 6, Gemini services run on a proprietary Google LLM also called Gemini. The Gemini model was developed by Google DeepMind and comes in three sizes, Ultra, Pro and Nano.
Gemini uses PaLM 2 in languages other than English. On Dec. 6 Google Product Director Jack Krawczyk said Google was working on a “clearer indication in bard of which model is serving you.”
SEE: Learn how to successfully use ChatGPT.
How does Google Gemini get its information?
Gemini is a large language model by Google that is built from vast data sets; Google also designed Gemini to be able to access the internet. This combination of capabilities lets Gemini devise natural language responses that include relevant current data in response to a prompt.
What are alternatives to Google Gemini?
The ability to access current internet content is a key differentiator between Google Gemini and many other chatbot AI systems. Many large language model chatbot systems were trained on older data and lack access to information about current events. This inability to browse the internet limits the usefulness of many of these systems.
Four alternatives to Gemini that can access current internet content and are worth exploring are:
- Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise): Available free with a Microsoft account.
- ChatGPT: ChatGPT Plus (available for $20 per month) and Enterprise accounts may access the internet as of late September 2023.
- Perplexity: Available free with account signin. Optional upgrade to Perplexity Pro features are available for $20 per month.
- Pi: Available free with an account.
Another alternative to Gemini that lacks access to current internet content is:
- Claude: Available free with an account, with optional Claude Pro features available for $20 per month.
Subscribe to the Innovation Insider Newsletter
Catch up on the latest tech innovations that are changing the world, including IoT, 5G, the latest about phones, security, smart cities, AI, robotics, and more. Delivered Tuesdays and Fridays