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Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world as we know it, and major tech companies like OpenAI, Microsoft, Meta, and Google are in fierce competition to deliver the most innovative AI updates to their customers.

On Monday, OpenAI unveiled significant upgrades to its GPT model, launching ChatGPT-4o. The new model is a faster and smarter version of earlier GPT models with improved response time.

Sam Altman, chief executive officer of OpenAI, said, “Getting to human-level response times and expressiveness turns out to be a big change. The original ChatGPT showed a hint of what was possible with language interfaces; this new thing feels viscerally different. It is fast, smart, fun, natural, and helpful.”

Not to be outdone, Google responded on Tuesday with its own significant AI advancement, intensifying the AI race. One of the major updates includes live scam detection, which can detect scam phone calls in real-time, provide users with warnings, and help them avoid falling victim to fraud.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive officer, said, “By showcasing its latest models and how they’ll power existing products with strong consumer reach, Google is demonstrating how it can effectively differentiate itself from rivals.”

Read also: Google bets on AI in Africa with fresh funding

Google emphasised its commitment to transforming its platform’s search experience through AI innovations. Here’s a breakdown of key announcements:

1. Gemini 1.5 Pro and Gemini 1.5 Flash: The tech company announced the general availability of Gemini 1.5 Pro, an AI model with a 1 million token context window, enabling it to process vast amounts of information like an hour of video or 1,500 pages of a PDF and respond to complex queries. It will also be available in more than 35 languages.

Gemini 1.5 Flash is a more cost-efficient model built based on user feedback and can understand and react to the context of conversations.

2. Generative AI in Search: Google is integrating Gemini into Search, enhancing its ability to understand and respond to complex queries. Its features include an AI Overview (designed for advanced multi-step reasoning, planning, and multimodal capabilities), Multi-step reasoning (which breaks down complex questions into smaller parts, and more), and Search with video (which allows users to ask questions about video content by taking a quick video).

3. Gemini for Android: Gemini is being integrated into Android to power new features like Circle to Search (which allows users to search for anything they see on their screen), TalkBack (which makes it easier for people with visual impairments to navigate their devices and access information), Live scam detection (which can be used to detect scam phone calls in real-time, providing users with warnings and helping them avoid falling victim to fraud), and Gemini as an Assistant on Android:

4. Gemini for Workspace: This is meant to help businesses and everyday users get more out of their Google apps—from drafting emails in Gmail to organising project plans in sheets. For instance, the AI model will be able to analyse email threads and provide a summarised view directly in the Gmail app.

5. Ask Photos: This feature will be added to Google Photos, and with Gemini, users can answer questions about photos and videos.

6. Imagen 3: Google’s latest text-to-image model, Imagen 3, is still only available to select creators. When it rolls out, it will generate high-quality images from texts.

7. Veo: This video generation model can create high-quality 1080p videos that are up to a minute or longer from user prompts.

8. Music AI tools: Google is collaborating with musicians, songwriters, and producers, in partnership with YouTube, to better understand the role of AI in music creation. This is leading to the development of a suite of music AI tools that can create instrumental sections, transfer styles between tracks, and more.

9. SynthID for text and video: Google is extending SynthID to text and video, allowing for watermarking AI-generated content.

10. AI Test Kitchen: The AI Test Kitchen has been expanded and is now available in over 100 countries, including several in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and more. Users can now experience and provide feedback on Google’s latest AI technologies.

The launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 opened the door to large-scale AI deployments. In 2023, $29.1 billion was invested across nearly 700 generative AI deals, an increase of more than 260 percent from the prior year, according to PitchBook. The global AI market is expected to hit $1 trillion in revenue within a decade.

Advancements in AI technology have raised concerns about its ethical implications and privacy risks. Google noted that as it grows its AI footprint, it is also introducing more protections to reduce potential misuse.