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Google reveals how 'Gemini' AI got its name

Gemini Google IO 2024 1 jpg.webp

Google Gemini Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) has a rather interesting history behind its name, the search giant has revealed. Although there’s certainly a strong correlation between Greek mythology and space, Google has offered some interesting reasoning behind why the company went ahead with Gemini.

Gemini born from DeepMind & Google Research “Brain” merger

Google has published a blog post that explains the finer aspects influencing the naming of the company’s Gen AI Gemini. The company wanted to go with a name that evoked powerful imagery, such as Titan, but eventually chose Gemini, Jeff Dean, Gemini’s co-technical lead indicated,

“Titan” was an early placeholder for the project. This is because it was a Greek god and the name of Saturn’s largest moon. However, Gemini is the result of merging two of Google’s teams dedicated to longshot projects. Gemini is the joint effort of DeepMind and Google Research “Brain”, and hence the name, Jeff added,

“The Gemini effort came about because we wanted to bring our teams working on language modeling closer together. I felt the twins’ aspect of the name ‘Gemini’ was a great fit. The twins here are the folks in the legacy Brain team and the legacy DeepMind team, who started to work together on this ambitious multimodal model project.”.

Jeff was referring to Greek mythological twins Castor and Pollux, as Gemini is a constellation that’s associated with these two brothers. The duality of the name seems to fit Google’s Gen AI quite well because Gemini also means twins in Latin.

Duality is a common theme behind Google naming its Gen AI Gemini

The Gemini zodiac sign is synonymous with a dual-natured or even contrasting personality. This sign is supposed to be capable of adapting quickly, connecting to a wide range of people, and seeing things from multiple perspectives. Hence, the name Gemini fits well, Google has reportedly indicated.

The name Gemini is also an homage to NASA’s Project Gemini from 1965 to 1968. This was one of the most intensive projects as it helped put the first man on the Moon. Apparently, “the monumental effort of training LLMs resonated with the spirit of launching rockets,” Oriol Vinyals, Gemini’s co-technical lead noted.

“Gemini was born as the research program to create the most capable models in the world,” Jeff added. Hence, Google thought it was appropriate to carry on using the name and use it for consumer-facing products. The company explained that doing so would offer consumers a chance to feel that continuous innovation at Google was reaching them as and when it was happening at Google’s offices.

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