Google app update reveals Google doesn't know what to call Assistant with Bard

Assistant with Bard at Made by Google event
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Recent APK teardowns of the Google app have shown different possible names for the feature first announced as Assistant with Bard. 
  • Google announced Assistant with Bard last year but has experimented with just calling the feature Bard or completely rebranding it to Gemini.
  • The naming discrepancy is ongoing even as all signs indicate a March 2024 release for Assistant with Bard. 

Even with numerous indicators that Assistant with Bard is finally nearing release, it looks like Google still doesn't know what it wants to call the feature. When the company announced Assistant with Bard last year, it said the feature was "coming soon," Google has quietly continued developing it. 

The question now is whether the feature first announced as Assistant with Bard will actually debut under that name. 9to5Google has been on top of the developments, most recently spotting Gemini instead of Assistant with Bard in the Google app.

All code strings and user-interface references to Assistant with Bard now say Gemini in beta version of the Google app. Previously, these UI elements referred to the feature as Bard. That leaves us with at least three names that Google is considering for this feature: Assistant with Bard, Bard, or Gemini.

Gemini in the prompts for Assistant with Bard.

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

Gemini is the name Google uses for its suite of artificial intelligence models. Gemini Nano is the AI model that runs locally on devices like smartphones, while Gemini Pro is the model that currently appears in Bard's standard version. Then, there's Gemini Ultra, which is Google's most powerful AI model to date. Google plans to release Gemini Ultra and incorporate it into Bard Advanced this year. 

Gemini appears to be Google's strongest brand in AI so far, and there's a lot of hype about the new AI modes. In that sense, it's easy to see why Google would want to leverage that name recognition on Assistant with Bard. On the flip side, Bard has existed for much longer than Gemini and is likely more familiar to casual users as a result. 

Either Bard or Gemini would be better than Assistant with Bard as far as names are concerned. The latter is clunky and could complicate things for users. For example, users will have the choice between using classic Google Assistant or Assistant with Bard. Simplifying the latter's name and removing the word "assistant" could make it easier for users to understand the difference. 

Speaking of complications, rebranding Assistant with Bard to Gemini would be inherently confusing, as 9to5Google has pointed out. We haven't yet seen the same brand used for both the name of the software and the AI model behind it. For example, ChatGPT uses the GPT-3.5 model and Microsoft Copilot uses GPT-4. By comparison, a rebrand could result in a situation where we refer to Assistant with Bard as "Gemini powered by Gemini Pro." 

Gemini is the latest name Google has tested for Assistant with Bard. However, it doesn't necessarily mean it is the one Google will stick with. If anything, Google's willingness to swap names in and out for this feature suggests it doesn't know exactly what to call it yet.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.