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The Gemini Debacle: How Google's AI Reveal Sparked a Trust Crisis

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

How Google got the world buzzing about its Gemini release only to let us all down when we found out what was fiction

Hello Gemini

The original intent of this blog was to bring people up to speed on Google's newest AI model called Gemini and show people how it worked and how it compared to Open AI's ChatGPT.

My goal was to publish this blog last night, but it didn't happen. I still had unfinished thoughts to process and decided it was best to approach with fresh daylight eyes.

Gemini is integrated into Google's chat tool, Bard along with Google's Pixel Pro 8 through Whatsapp.

I had spent the last two nights playing around with Bard. Here's what the landing page looks like.

Bard Landing Page:
Bard Landing Page:

Mind-blowing promotional videos

Folks in my tech circles were raving about what they were seeing in Google's promotional videos. They called Gemini's capabilities jaw-dropping and mind-blowing. I couldn't wait to see what all of the fuss was about.

My Experience with Bard and Gemini

After watching the video above, I wanted to test out some of what was demonstrated. I couldn't find any features resembling what they were portraying. I figured Google was rolling this out gradually and I didn't have access yet.

I told myself I would get access to all of this cool stuff in due time. This was a "me" issue, not a Google issue.

Expectations vs. Reality

Then I saw the news, what was in the Google Promo reel wasn't real at all. This wasn't an issue of me not having access. This was Google misleading the public.

Breaking News: The Truth Uncovered

Parmy Olson, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist broke the story yesterday.

The Fallout from Google's Faked Video

So now what? At a time when there is already a lack of trust in big tech and fear around the ethical use of AI, this type of PR is not helping anyone. Not only is it detrimental to Google but, in my humble opinion, all of tech.

Reddit's Perspective

It was interesting to read through comments on Reddit which are summarized below.

  1. General Disappointment and Accusations of Misrepresentation: Many users express frustration and disappointment, with some even labeling Google's actions as fraudulent. There's a sense of betrayal, especially among those who shared the video with peers and teams, expecting groundbreaking AI capabilities.

  2. Criticism of the Demo's Authenticity: Users criticize the editing and staging of the demo, noting that it was not a real-time interaction but rather a compilation of cherry-picked, edited responses. This criticism extends to Google's history of similar actions in past product demonstrations.

  3. Concerns Over Misleading Technology Representation: Commenters point out the significant difference between the demo's portrayal and the actual capabilities of the technology. There's a sense that the video was designed to mislead viewers about the AI's real-time interaction capabilities.

  4. Skepticism and Previous Experiences: Some users express skepticism, stating they suspected the demo was faked. Others mention Google's previous AI and technology demonstrations, suggesting a pattern of behavior.

  5. Impact on Stock and Legal Implications: A few comments mention the impact of the news on Google's stock price and the potential interest of regulatory bodies like the SEC.

  6. Comparisons to Other Companies and Technologies: Some users draw comparisons to other companies known for overhyping their technologies, hinting at a broader issue in the tech industry.

Privacy Policy Considerations in AI Tools

Aside from the misleading video, anyone using Bard should also consider the privacy policy.

Bard: Privacy Help Hub
Bard: Privacy Help Hub

What is happening with the information you put in these conversations? I clicked the link to the Privacy Policy and then asked Bard, "Help me understand what I should pay attention to the privacy policy?"

You can check out the conversation here:

Bard vs. ChatGPT: A Privacy Overview

Going one step further, I asked both ChatGPT and Bard to compare privacy policies from Open AI and Google.

A couple of findings stood out for me and this is directly from Bard.

  • Data Usage: There are differences in how OpenAI and Google handle user data. OpenAI primarily uses user data to improve its service, while Google integrates user data with its broader ecosystem, which could lead to additional uses like advertising or personalized recommendations.

  • Data Retention: OpenAI offers users more control over deleting their data, while Google retains user conversations for a longer period, even after they are deleted from the user's interface.

Innovation & Integrity in Tech

In conclusion, the Gemini PR Debacle serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between innovation and integrity in the tech world. As we navigate uncharted waters of AI advancement, it becomes increasingly important to critically examine the information presented to us. This incident not only casts a shadow on Google's credibility but also raises broader questions about transparency and ethics in AI development. Would love to hear your thoughts. What would you tell Google? And how does the company bounce back from this?

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