Google’s Gemini Nano comes to the Chrome desktop client

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Google plans to make Gemini natively accessible within its Chrome desktop client. Starting with Chrome 126, developers will be able to use Gemini Nano, the AI model made for mobile devices and app development. The company believes that this LLM, combined with WebGPU and WASM, makes it easier to produce apps with a wider global reach.

“Our vision is that developers will be able to deliver powerful AI features to Chrome’s billions of users without having to worry about prompt engineering, fine-tuning, capacity and cost,” John Dahlke, Google’s director of product management for Chrome, says in a blog post. “All they will have to do is call a few high-level APIs, like translate, caption or transcribe. We have started to engage with other browsers and will be opening up an early preview program for developers.”

Gemini Nano brings many AI features to the browser that all users, not just developers, may find useful, such as Google’s “Help Me Write.” This tool can help generate short-form content like product reviews, social media posts and customer feedback forms. It brings to mind similar capabilities launched on Microsoft’s Edge browser when the Windows maker announced its partnership with OpenAI in 2023. All of this was possible after fine-tuning Gemini Nano and modifying Chrome to ensure it could load the AI model quickly, Dahlke reveals.

This is another step in Google’s effort to show how it’s making generative AI “more accessible to every developer on the planet.” It follows other announcements made at this year’s Google I/O conference, including the release of faster Gemini models, new Gemma variant capabilities, and more. However, what’s notable about the Gemini integration with Chrome is that Google is offering an AI-powered canvas that functions no matter whether or not you’re connected to the internet. Having Gemini Nano operate locally may benefit developers who want to code on their own schedule and environmental setting.

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It’s also not the first time Google has infused AI into Chrome. The company introduced experimental gen AI features in January with the goal of making the browser experience personalized to the individual user. And then there’s Help Me Write, which debuted in February. However, all those were specific to the web browser, not the desktop client. Today’s announcement is for the program you download and install on your computer.

Chrome desktop is the latest program or device to support Gemini Nano. The model first launched on some Android devices months ago—the Pixel 8, for example. “Bringing it to Chrome is kind of the next step and sort of platform there on the distribution,” Dahlke remarks.

While Chrome is the proverbial flavor of the week, Dahlke acknowledges Google is having conversations with other browser makers about bringing Gemini Nano over. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox were specifically mentioned. “We’ve reached out to everybody to start the conversation on how we do this for the web as a whole,” he declares. “We want to make sure that all of these capabilities are viable across all browsers on the web.”

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