Google launches AI tool in South Africa for R430 per month

Google has announced it is rebranding its Bard artificial intelligence (AI) tool to Gemini and is launching an advanced version of the software to the public.

The new name is taken directly from the AI model family that it is built on, first unveiled by Google in early December 2023.

The company regards Gemini as its most capable AI model yet.

Users can already chat with Bard/Gemini based on the Gemini Pro 1.0 model, which supports over 40 languages in more than 230 countries and territories.

For those seeking something a bit more powerful, the Gemini Advanced tool built on the newer Ultra 1.0 model is now also available in more than 150 countries and territories.

Google said that Ultra 1.0 is its largest and most capable state-of-the-art AI model, better at highly complex tasks like coding, logical reasoning, following nuanced instructions and collaborating on creative projects.

In South Africa, Gemini Advanced will be available as part of the Google One AI Premium plan, priced at R429.99 after a free two-month trial.

The tool will initially only be supported in English, but Google plans to expand it to more languages over time.

In addition to Gemini’s capabilities, the AI Premium plan provides access to the regular features available in Google One Premium, including 2TB of cloud storage, Google Workspace premium features, and more advanced Google Photos editing.

Without Gemini, the Premium plan is usually priced at R184.99 in South Africa.

Google said that AI Premium subscribers will soon be able to use Gemini in its other productivity apps — including Gmail, Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

Gemini Advanced will be taking on OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus subscription service, priced at $20 (R379), which is focused solely on having fast access to its language model and priority privileges for early features.

Gemini power on your smartphone

Google is also rolling out Gemini features on a dedicated app for Android and the Google app for iOS.

These will arrive in South Africa next week and allow users to type, talk or add an image for assistance from the AI tool while on the go.

Google explained that some of the capabilities will include getting instructions on fixing a tyre based off a photo, generating a custom image for their dinner party invitation or asking for help writing a difficult text message.

“It’s an important first step in building a true AI assistant — one that is conversational, multimodal and helpful,” Google stated.

To mitigate issues like unsafe content or bias, Google said it has built safety into its Gemini products in accordance with its AI Principles.

“Before launching Gemini Advanced, we conducted extensive trust and safety checks,” the company said.

Google provides more details on these measures and other technical information about Gemini in the Gemini Technical Report.

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Google launches AI tool in South Africa for R430 per month