Google launches AI-powered notebook with in-house developed Gemini Pro and PaLM 2

NotebookLM (Image credit: Google)

During the I/O event in 2023, Google presented a note-taking application named 'Project Tailwind' that uses its Gemini Pro artificial intelligence technology. The presentation showed its potential usage as an AI-powered note-taking app. When Project Tailwind was released, there was a waiting list for people to apply and check out its new offering. Now, Google has launched an AI-powered app called 'NotebookLM' for users above 18 years of age in the United States.

Primarily, this app uses Google's in-house AI systems, including Gemini Pro and PaLM 2. It is still experimental, but it's not on a waiting list. Suffice it to say its AI tools will be used for various applications in Google's ecosystem, but the application of Gemini Pro and PaLM 2 begins here.

Some of NotebookLM's Functions

This works when you upload your documents or copy-paste your content, allowing NotebookLM to analyze and present options as you see fit. You start by simply asking NotebookLM's virtual assistant a question, which will display the results.

At first, Google wasn't sure who to make this app for or who was likely to be its active user base before it could be released. Therefore, it allowed its development team to get a fresh perspective from a potential user base to get things moving. The 'more than just a search engine' company opened early access in July while taking feedback from students and professors during its testing process. This enabled the team to understand the needs of one of its potential user bases. NotebookLM can auto-generate summaries, prepare a newsletter, create study guides, and outline follow-up questions and suggestions based on the uploaded document.

These functions take advantage of Google's new AI tools. Because of its programming, it should be able to break down the technical aspects of the uploaded documents for the reader to understand. This is where its machine learning capabilities need to be strong, as explaining in layperson's terms is not everybody's cup of tea, AI included. Many such generated content needs correction, which does more harm than good, something Google will also need to keep to an extreme minimum. Of course, other functions exist, such as refining sentence structures and paragraphs or suggesting ideas while using your uploaded document as source material.

Naturally, Google will keep adding new ideas to NotebookLM, potentially valuable for many other users.

What about Google's other Note-Taking App?

This isn't Google's first venture into a note-taking app. It has 'Keep,' which raises the question of why it should not simply integrate its AI-powered features, even if it is an experiment. We'll never know unless Google reveals its plan or if the company intends to keep both note-taking apps for the foreseeable future. NotebookLM is an experiment limited to some features for now and to be used by a demographic from a single nation. Knowing what Google has added when it opens for international users will be interesting. Only time will tell which note-taking app Google will keep!

Just three days ago, Google launched Gemini, which is made with OpenAI's GPT-4, or so that's what we're led to believe since Google's demo on video was staged.

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh
Contributing Writer

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh has been in the Indian PC hardware community since the early 2000s and has been building PCs, contributing to many Indian tech forums, & blogs. He operated Hardware BBQ for 11 years and wrote news for eTeknix & TweakTown before joining Tom's Hardware team. Besides tech, he is interested in fighting games, movies, anime, and mechanical watches.

  • bit_user
    I wouldn't use this for anything I truly want to learn and know, but it sounds useful for trying to understand medical research papers and complex mathematics texts which are well outside of my core domain and I usually consult in an attempt to get some quick answers.

    Then again, I'm wary of any Google service.
  • domih
    As Nicolas Boileau (1636 – 1711) said:

    <<Ce que l’on conçoit bien s’énonce clairement. Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisément.>>

    Meaning: <<What is conceived well is stated clearly. And the words to say it come easily.>>

    A skill that will atrophy with people using this thingy for writing anything. Language is thought.