In a move that we all probably should have seen coming, taking into account how quickly Google spun up its large language model (LLM) in order to insert itself in the AI race and compete with rivals like Microsoft, what was once Google Bard is now just called Gemini.
Alongside the announcement of the rebranding of its public-facing chatbot, Google also announced that it was launching a new subscription for its premium AI model Gemini Advanced – available through the Google One AI Premium Plan. This version features one of the most advanced LLM that the tech giant is offering the public and costs $19.99 (or R429.99 which is what Google is charging locally) a month.
This is nearly the same price as OpenAI’s premium ChatGPT subscription plan – ChatGPT Plus – which goes for $20 a month (or around R378.80 taking into account the current conversion rate).
The South African pricing for Gemini Advanced means for local users that the model is more expensive, we are not sure why the price has been inflated beyond the conversion rate. Both companies claim to be offering the “most advanced” generative AI available in the subscription plans, but what else is being offered?
Here is a comparison of what you get in each subscription – Google Gemini Advanced vs. ChatGPT Plus
Gemini Advanced via the Google One AI Premium Plan – $19.99 or R429.99
Google says that Gemini Advanced through its Gemini Ultra 1.0 model is capable of highly complex tasks, such as coding, logical reasoning, following nuanced instructions and collaborating on creative projects. In the future the AI model will be included in the Google suite of products once subscribed to, which means Gmail will have Gemini Advanced and can be used to write emails or summarise long email chains among other uses.
The new Google Gemini app serves a similar purpose to the ChatGPT app, and is basically a location where most of the AI’s use cases can be found. Here you can chat with the Gemini chatbot, access the Gemini image generator and editor via Magic Eraser and more. With the premium subscription, all of these services are improved with the higher quality model.
Google is also offering 2TB of cloud storage with the premium plan and the company is serving up the first two months free as a trial period.
The main drawback with Gemini Advanced is that it is still new, as such most of its features are still “coming soon.” This includes the fact that it can only answer English prompts as of the time of writing. It is also yet to be implemented in the Google app suite, despite this being a major attraction point. The release date of this feature is still unknown.
Its newness also means, and as Google shows in their trailer videos, Gemini Advanced is still experimental and this could lead to some issues, such as bad responses or hallucinations. This is a problem with all AI chatbots, however, including ChatGPT.
ChatGPT Plus – $20.00 (no specific South African pricing)
The AI chatbot that started it all has had much more time to cook and improve as compared to Google’s Gemini, and as such as more to offer in terms of features. Initial benefits to subscribers include faster response times, premium access even when servers are full during peak times and priority access to the newest features from OpenAI.
ChatGPT Plus also brings access to GPT 4.5, the latest LLM from the company, which is considered by many the current leader in terms of processing power for generative AI, even if Google claims its Gemini Ultra model performs a little bit better in its own testing.
Other offers with the subscription plan includes access to the Dall.E 3 image generator – the one from all the memes, as well as access to the GPT Store. This is a vast repository of user-made plugins for ChatGPT that tailor-suit the LLM to an endless range of use cases at no extra cost.
For example, there are plugins specifically made for plant care, for academic research, there’s a plugin that can act as a creative writing coach, a plugin that help you improve your SEO, a plugin that generates entire PowerPoint presentations with ChatGPT that you can then download, and thousands more.
ChatGPT, unlike Gemini Advanced, supports prompts in 50 languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese. This is beside the subscription plan as free users can prompt in these languages, and others, such as Afrikaans and isiZulu.
And finally, while Gemini Ultra 1.0 is just finished cooking and is ready for customers, ChatGPT is currently working on GPT 5 which should see the light of day in the next year or two. How long will it take Google to catch up with this model is unknown at this point.
Both models have benefits, but ChatGPT’s main advantage is that it has had more time to cook and OpenAI has had more time to launch products based on its generative AI as compared to Google. In the end it depends on user preferences, but we know which we would choose if we had to spend $20 a month on generative AI.
[Image – CC 0 Google Deepmind on Pexels]