Featured Article : Google Launches Gemini AI Studio

20th December 2023

Following on from Google’s recent launch announcement for Gemini (its new super-powered foundation model family), Google has now announced the launch of AI Studio to enable the development of apps and chatbots using Gemini.

Gemini (Pro) 

Google recently announced the introduction of its largest and most capable AI model, Gemini. The three sizes of the model, Ultra, Pro and Nano are already being rolled out with Gemini Nano in Android, starting with Pixel 8 Pro, and a specifically tuned version of Gemini Pro in Google’s Bard chatbot. Gemini Pro is now also available for developers and enterprises to build for their using AI Studio.

AI Studio – Leveraging The Power of Gemini 

Google’s new AI Studio (previously called ‘MakerSuite’), which Google describes as “the fastest way to build with Gemini” is a free, web-based developer tool that enables users to quickly develop prompts and then get an API key to use in app development. In short, it’s a fast, free, easy-to-use tool to enable the creation of apps and chatbots that leverage the power of Gemini Pro model (and Ultra later next year).

Generous Free Quota 

As Google is keen to point out, users who sign into Google AI Studio with their Google account login can take advantage of the 60 requests per minute free quota, which is 20 times more than other free offerings.

How It Works 

Once signed in, AI Studio users simply need to click on “Get code” to transfer their work to their integrated development environment (IDE) of choice or use one of the quickstart templates available in Android Studio, Colab or Project IDX.

Shared With Reviewers To Improve Product Quality 

Google also says that to improve the quality of AI Studio, when using the free quota, it may make the user’s API and Google AI Studio input and output accessible to trained reviewers. Google stresses that in the interests of privacy, this data is de-identified from the user’s Google account and API key.

Currently, Google AI Studio supports both Gemini Pro and Gemini Pro Vision models, which accommodate text and imagery development, but not yet image creation

How Much Can You Do With The Free AI Studio? 

It’s been reported that the team behind AI Studio have tried to make sure it doesn’t feel like a very limited trial version or a gated product and that, if the free-tiers rate limits are sufficient for their use, developers can start publishing their AI Studio apps or use them through the API or Google’s software development kits (SDKs) right away.

Which Software Development Kits (SDKs)? 

With Gemini Pro, the SDKs supported include Python, Android (Kotlin), Node.js, Swift and JavaScript, which should enable the building of apps that can run anywhere.

Transition To Vertex AI 

In line with Google’s “growing with Google” (customer retention) concept, AI Studio offers a way for Google to first let users experiment and learn, before seamlessly enabling them to “easily transition” to its fully managed (paid-for) AI developer platform ‘Vertex AI.’ This platform offers the added benefits and value of customisation of Gemini with full data control, and it benefits from additional Google Cloud features for enterprise security, safety, privacy and data governance and compliance.

Those who choose to transition to Vertex will therefore have access to Gemini plus, meaning that they can:

– “Tune and distil” Gemini with their own company’s data and augment it with grounding to include up-to-minute information and extensions to take real-world actions.

– Build Gemini-powered search and conversational agents in a low code / no code environment. This includes support for retrieval-augmented generation (RAG), blended search, embeddings, conversation playbooks and more. RAG refers to using facts fetched from external sources to enhance the accuracy and reliability of generative AI models.

All this should mean that businesses can use these Google AI services to create their own working, real-world customised chatbots and apps (based on a powerful model), saving time and money and without requiring vast amounts of technical skill to do so. Google is also keen to highlight how using Vertex will protect privacy because Google says it doesn’t train its models on inputs or outputs from Google Cloud customers, and customer data and IPs remain their own. This is likely to be important to the many enterprise customers and developers that Google hopes will adopt AI Studio and then Vertex AI.

Looking Ahead (And Pricing)

As previously mentioned, using Google’s Gemini Pro through AI Studio is currently free, and a pay-as-you-go version (coming soon to AI Studio) will be priced at (input) $0.00025 / 1K characters and $0.0025 / image, and output $0.0005 / 1K char.

Google says: “Vertex AI developers can try the same models, with the same rate limits, at no cost until general availability early next year, after which there will be a charge per 1,000 characters or per image across Google AI Studio and Vertex AI.” The Vertex platform is already charged by every 1,000 characters of input (prompt) and every 1,000 characters of output (response).

With Gemini, the new, powerful three-flavoured foundation model means users can build their apps and chatbots via Google AI Studio and then Vertex. Ultra, the largest and most capable model, will be launched next year (following testing and tuning). Google also says it plans to bring Gemini to more of its developer platforms like Chrome and Firebase.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

In the fast-moving generative AI market, Google’s powerful Gemini models and its infrastructure and tools for leveraging these models (AI Studio and Vertex) enable it to compete with the likes of OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, its API and ChatGPT. With the race now moving towards giving users the tools to make their own customised apps and chatbots (like OpenAI’s GPTs) focused on their own business uses, this is an important competitive step from Google.

AI Studio is also a way to ease users into Google’s AI services, retain and upsell them by offering them a seamless way to move up to the bigger paid-for platform Vertex. Being able to build apps and chatbots in an easy, low-code way is likely to be very attractive to most businesses that are sold on the general benefits of AI but want a way to easily tailor it in a value-adding way that is specific to their own business needs. Although Google and the other major tech players are moving quickly to meet these needs, it seems that this is such a fast-moving market that in even just a month or two, other major developments or products can up the ante for all again. OpenAI, for example has (after its recent boardroom power struggle) has already announced some major new developments for the very near future.

For now, it’s a case of Google scoring some points with Gemini and its associated infrastructure tools. However, keep watching this space!