You'll Need to Pay to Use Google's Best AI - Living Strong Television Network

Part of the reason AI has blown up since the end of 2022—aside from it being pretty cool—is that much of it has been free to use. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up for ChatGPT or to try out Google’s AI bot, Bard, meaning anyone can experience the artificial intelligence hype for themselves.

However, free doesn’t pay the bills, and AI racks up a bill. Generative AI requires a lot of processing power, so the companies behind this tech are all looking for ways to fund the operation. ChatGPT has its “Plus” subscription, which gives you access more power and features, while AI art generator Midjourney offers a few pricing tiers to choose from.

Now, Google is jumping on the bandwagon. During its Q4 earnings call, the company confirmed that it had plans to roll out “Bard Advanced” to subscribers, but stopped short of confirming a timeline for that rollout or a price point for its service. What we do know is Bard Advanced will be powered by Gemini Ultra, as opposed to Bard’s Gemini Pro.

What is Bard Advanced?

Google’s AI offerings are starting to get a little complex, so here’s a breakdown: Google’s AI bot is called Bard. That’s the interface you use when you want to chat with Google’s AI, search with generative AI, or generate images. Bard is, essentially, Google’s version of ChatGPT.

Gemini, on the other hand, is what powers Bard: It’s Google’s LLM (large language model), and it comes in three different tiers. Gemini Pro is the tier powering the free version of Bard we have access to today. It seems powerful and capable enough to handle many basic tasks you throw at it. Then, there’s Gemini Nano, which powers the AI features on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Bard Advanced, however, runs on the third tier, Gemini Ultra, the most powerful version of Google’s LLM. It’s still early days, so we don’t totally know what Gemini Ultra will offer Bard Advanced subscribers over the free version, but Google has said that Ultra is “designed for highly complex tasks and built to quickly understand and act on different types of information—including text, images, audio, video, and code.”

None of this means that the free version of Bard is going away. Just as there’s a free version of ChatGPT that coexists with ChatGPT Plus, Bard and Bard Advanced will be offered at the same time. If you don’t want to pay for a more powerful version of Bard with more features, stick with Google’s original Bard AI.

We will update this piece once Google releases more information about Bard Advanced’s rollout and price points.

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