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Google explains the origin of the name “Gemini”

Google explains the origin of the name “Gemini”


Starting with I/O 2023, Gemini is the name of all Google's AI capabilities. In this week's Gemini product update, Google officially explained where it got its name.

According to the Google DeepMind team, “Titan” was an early placeholder for the project. Of course there's a Greek mythology angle, but Google was specifically thinking about Saturn's largest moon.

I've never been a big fan of the name, says Jeff Dean, co-head of technology at Gemini. But it gave him the idea of ​​a name, or perhaps a sign, rooted in space.

This prompted Google to evoke the word “Gemini,” or “twins” in Latin, and the ubiquitous glittering star iconography.

In astronomy, it is the name of a constellation associated with the Greek mythical twins Castor and Pollux, after whom the two brightest stars are named. So, naturally, the meaning behind the name of an AI model is twofold.

The researchers found that Gemini's “dual personality, which allows them to adapt quickly, connect with a wide range of people, and see things from multiple perspectives,” made them “well-suited to what was happening at Google at the time.” Thought. DeepMind and Google Research's “Brain” teams have merged.

The Gemini initiative was born out of a desire to bring teams working on language modeling closer together, Jeff says. I felt the twin aspect of the name Gemini was a good fit. The twins here are members of the original Brain team and the original DeepMind team who started collaborating on this ambitious multimodal model project.

Gemini also pays homage to NASA's Gemini program from 1965 to 1968, which helped test technology in advance of the Apollo moon landings.

The importance of the Gemini program to the success of the Apollo program resonated with the team. At one point, Jeff suggested the name “Gemini” in the comments of a document the team was working on, and it stuck. “I was immediately attracted to the name because the monumental effort of training the LLM resonated with the spirit of a rocket launch,” said Oriol Viñals, Gemini's co-technical director.

Google also considered naming models “because there are many names for stars of different sizes in the universe.” We currently have Nano, Flash, Pro, and Ultra, but the 1.5 is staying with his two sizes for now.

Of note in this interview is a short passage about the decision to make Gemini also the user-facing name for Google's AI capabilities.

Gemini was born as a research program to create the world's most capable models, Auriol said. We hope that by naming our products this way, our users will be able to directly experience the continuous improvement, creativity, and innovation that our research teams bring to the table.

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