Chrome’s New Built-In AI Is the Biggest Update to the Browser in Over 15 Years

Gemini on the address bar makes so much sense.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 18: In this photo illustration, Gemini Ai is seen on a phone on March 18,...
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Using Google’s Gemini AI chatbot just got a whole lot easier. Google incorporated Gemini, its generative AI chatbot that was formerly known as Bard, into Chrome’s address bar. That means instead of going to the Gemini website, you can now type in “@gemini” into your Chrome desktop browser to get the same results.

If that sounds incredibly basic, it’s because it is. It makes a lot of sense for Chrome to add a shortcut into its “omnibox” — aka the address bar — which currently serves as a way to enter a URL, start a search, or even change the browser’s settings. With Gemini just an @ away, the chatbot has a much higher chance of working its way into your day-to-day web browsing.

Setting the Stage for Gemini

We first saw Google tease Gemini integration into its Chrome desktop browser in April. Not much has changed since, but clearly, Gemini is working its way into more of Google’s products.

For those of us who already use Chrome for everything from booking flights to work, this Gemini shortcut feels like a no-brainer. Sometimes you want a little more than just a basic Google search and that’s where typing in @gemini comes in for a quicker way to get more detailed responses.

It’s not the first time that Google has used Gemini for its Chrome browser, either. Earlier this year, Google added some experimental AI features powered by Gemini, including the “Organize similar tabs” and “Help me write” functions. This latest search bar update may not be as specific as those features, but it could impact the future of Chrome a lot more.

It’s also a potential boon for Gemini. As of February 2024, an estimated 65 percent of web browsing takes place via Google’s Chrome browser. That makes the tighter integration a huge opportunity to put Gemini at the fingertips of millions and millions of people.

Google already released its “Help me write” Gemini feature as a beta.


The First Step Towards AI Search

If all goes well, we could see Google doubling down on combining its search and Gemini functions for a full-on AI search feature, similar to Perplexity, an app that blurs the line between chatbot and more traditional web searching.

When or if that ascension to full-on AI search happens remains to be seen. Despite Google’s willingness to bring Chrome, search, and Gemini closer together, generative AI (ChatGPT included) still has major issues with accuracy and “hallucinations” that could affect Google’s reliability. If there’s one thing Google doesn’t want, it’s more scrutiny over its role as a purveyor of facts, or in the worst case, misinformation.

For now, Google is putting Gemini about as close as it can get to your web searches with the hope you start to smash that @ button and dive head-first into the promised land of generative search.

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