Saturday, February 10, 2024

From Bard to Gemini: A New Era for Google AI

From Bard to Gemini: A New Era for Google AI

By Jonathan Black

In a move that surprised many, Google recently announced the transition of its AI platform Bard to Gemini. This rebranding signifies a significant shift in Google's AI strategy, marking a new chapter focused on broader integration and accessibility.

What is Gemini?

Gemini is not just a new name; it represents a powerful new AI model capable of multimodal reasoning and understanding. Unlike Bard, which primarily focused on text-based interactions, Gemini can handle a wider range of inputs, including images, videos, and code. This versatility opens up exciting possibilities for creative exploration and problem-solving.

Why the Transition?

Google's decision to move from Bard to Gemini reflects several key goals:

 * Unified AI experience: By bringing various AI capabilities under the Gemini umbrella, Google aims to create a more cohesive and user-friendly experience across its products and services.

 * Enhanced accessibility: Gemini will be available in a wider range of languages and on more devices, making it more accessible to a global audience.

 * Advanced capabilities: The Gemini model boasts superior performance in areas like reasoning, planning, and code generation, empowering users to achieve more with AI.
What does this mean for users?
If you're already familiar with Bard, you'll find many of the same features and functionalities in Gemini.

However, you'll also benefit from:

 * More powerful text generation: Gemini's improved language understanding delivers more nuanced and informative responses.

 * Multimodal capabilities: Interact with AI using images, videos, and code, unlocking new creative and analytical possibilities.

 * Potential for future advancements: As Gemini continues to evolve, users can expect even more advanced features and capabilities in the future.

The Future of AI with Gemini
The transition to Gemini marks a significant step forward for Google AI. With its focus on accessibility, integration, and advanced capabilities, Gemini has the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with AI and unlock new possibilities for creativity, problem-solving, and self-expression.

And don't forget to keep an eye out for the new update drops!

This has been... 

A Jonathan Black Observation
#AJBO #BasikBlack #BasikBucks #BasikBranding #BasikBuys #BasikTech #Google #Gemini #Bard #AI

Friday, December 15, 2023

Gaga for Google -- December 2023 New Features Launch

December 2023 Feature Drop 

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Gemini AI - Google's semi-soft 'secret' launch is Now Live

‘Gemini Nano’

Pixel 8 Pro the first smartphone with AI built in — is now running Gemini Nano

…With more AI updates coming to the Pixel portfolio very soon.

By Jonathan Black

A new Feature Drop brings a lot of fun perks and updates to make your favorite smartphone even more helpful, productive and personalized - which ultimately translates to tinkering with tech specs and settings more than some care for. Let's be honest, there are many times that updates can create a larger inconvenience than it seems they're worth. 

But, let's fast forward to a whole new class of updates, this dropping in the form of Gemini Nano which now powers on-device generative AI features for Pixel 8 Pro. 

 The twist here is in one of the more genius moves I've seen at the hands of Google/Alphabet in their secretive "semi-soft launch"  of the technology which was already programmed into the hardware of the Pixel 8 Pro, being unique to a single device in the Pixel portfolio. The 8 Pro is already running the new AI code and will see the results via a few new feature updates dropping for December - a strong motivator for those who haven't upgraded to take the chance now while holiday sales are available. 

As a proud Pixel 8 Pro owner, Pixel Buds Pro fan and the not-so-excited owner a Pixel Watch 2 I have to admit while I know the endgame will yield massive results for the future of Google and the space of generate AI technology itself, being the only device to house the new addition gives me a sense of excitement and adventure into new territory overpowered by a growing ambivalence. 

At first, I purchased the device from it's market release only to find many features advertised and highlighted in the Google Store launch event Livestream to be unavailable and advised they would follow in future updates. 

For the most part, they have. However, the shining promise of the partnering of "Google Assistant with Bard" in even wider expansion early next year held my attention long enough to not so much as blindly guess that after the Pixel purchase I'd then be privy to the uprising of an AI program that for all arguments sake was essentially hidden from me all the while and kept secret. 

This surprise doesn't feel full on forceful or underhanded, but it does land all of us Pixel 8 Pro "Superfans" in the same group. That being, a test audience. And while I don't mind being a part of the first wave - and often an lucky enough to work on projects featuring emerging tech - it still feels uncomfortable when this wasn't something known before laying down the cold hard cash for the device. 

This could very well be a game changer for many and might have resulted in a decision to skip this model and delay their upgrade to the Pixel 9 Pro, who's release is already in the running. 

Personally, I'm not in the camp of thought that I would have waited, but there were a lot of reasons that factor into why I held tightly to my Pixel 6 Pro in favor of passing by the 7 Pro. I still have my 6 Pro and use it daily, knowing my choice was smart for my needs and usage. I wouldn't have been happy with 7. It's just the truth. It's the same reason I traded in a great up 6a that I purchased on the side for work purposes. It was a device I loathed on a daily basis and had you told me it was even in the same ballpark as the same generation Pro I was utilizing non-stop I would have been hard pressed to believe it. 

Regardless, time moves on and today Google introduced Gemini, hailing it “the most capable and flexible AI model we’ve ever built.”

 With three different sizes — Ultra, Pro and Nano — Gemini is optimized to run on everything from data centers to smartphones. 

“Gemini Nano is our most efficient model built for on-device tasks, and starting today, it's running on Pixel 8 Pro. As the first smartphone engineered for Gemini Nano, it uses the power of Google Tensor G3 to deliver two expanded features: Summarize in Recorder and Smart Reply in Gboard

We're further informed that by design, Gemini Nano helps prevent sensitive data from leaving the phone, as well as offering the ability to use features without a network connection. 

Additionally, with Gemini Nano now running on-device, the entire family of Gemini models will unlock new capabilities for the Assistant with Bard experience early next year on Pixel.”

These new features and other updates for productivity and customization will begin rolling out today on Pixel phone, tablet, and smartwatch.

As for the successful landing on this multi-billion dollar leap of faith, I suppose only time will tell. Truth be told and as big of a Google fan as I am, we all know very well Google isn't afraid to show swift action when sunsetting a project. This can be evidenced in the archives of the "Google Graveyard" and more recently in the demise of Google Domains and, in its official end commencing next year, Google Podcasts. 

Fingers crossed for a keeper in Gemini and a lack of remorse in gauging the upgraded purchase as "Superfans" now can newly be dubbed the 'generative guinea pigs. '

As always, this has been... 

A Jonathan Black Observation

A Jonathan Black Observation
#AJBO #BasikBlack #BasikBucks #BasikBranding #BasikBuys #Google #GoogleBard #GooglePixel #GooglePixel8Pro #GoogleGemini #GeminiNano #generativeAI #AI #Testgroup #liveAI #launch #featuredrop #GoogleAssistant #Superfans #TeamPixel

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Google Pixel 8 PRO - The Pre-Review Review

Google Pixel 8 PRO - 

The Pre-Review Review


A Jonathan Black Observation 


My OFFICIAL reel on the exciting 1st Day post pre-order pick-up and how deeply I'm feeling my #GooglePixel8Pro #GooglePixelWatch2 #GooglePixelBudsPro and the tech-trilogy together in action! Google Made by Google Pixel Superfans 9to5Google I'm a little upset that the night shot video ability is a mystery left out of the picture - only leaving minor traces of blog banter on its drop later this year considering that was a huge selling point for me. The camera itself is above average but to be honest, coming from my Pixel 6 Pro to the 8 Pro I'm not seeing much difference except the new interface and appearance of more options which, if you are into photography or utilize your camera will recognize the features previously available only slightly hidden or some on autopilot. Still, it is a better take and while I like the theory of the "blurred portrait mode" in video... I've yet to see it substantially produce greater than subpar results. 

The processor is faster with the 3rd Gen chip and thank you Google for whatever tweaks were made in the way of temperature control. With my 6 Pro the device would get so hot that my hands would feel like they are burning, and I'd have to stop using the phone for 20 to 30 minutes. Often, even when I didn't recognize the heat, Google photos would alert me it couldn't back up photos because it was too hot. 

With the 8 PRO I'll admit I've been pretty solid on my use over the last 24 hours with a mix of work, play, set up, downloading, taking photo and video footage, testing features in that category and generally pushing the poor thing to the point of exhaustion. But... it's kept up with my workload from updates as a Google Local Guide to content creation, social media uploading, music streaming, etc. Not once did it overheat and it continues to run smooth and steady as I Swype this mini review across my gboard as you're reading this. 

The unit feels great in hand - better than the 6 and more intuitive overall. Granted, I've yet to scratch the surface of my day to day personal and work routines and load of data consumption so only time will tell. I won't lie when I say I've been up 24 hours straight on this thing, fiddling with the watch as well (which in all honesty I appreciate the technology and hard work that went into it but just the same I was happier with my Fitbit Charge 5) Again, this is only day one. One thing for sure and that is the charger for the watch is an evil, sick and twisted joke from the devious developers behind the lines at Google. It's hard to connect, stay connected and failed to charge my watch the first time around due to connection error. I realize it's capable of wireless charging but when I've just laid down about $1200 when all is said and done at the end of the day (before trade-in) I'm not too giddy to continue shopping for expensive accessories. 

All in all I'm happy with the upgrade. Do I feel like I received the device and have the power in my hands that Google presented on the 8th in live fashion prompting me to preorder - hell no. Forgive me if this isn't what you're hoping for but I'm a realistic guy that never  from giving my honest review regardless of who's listening. I'm still a Google Guy through and through and wouldn't have wanted any other model on the market. Truth is - whether the apple cult wants to admit it or not - the Pixel 8 Pro is the most advanced piece of technology you can buy in the realm of smartphones currently available on the market. 

There's no debating it. It's this tech that drives me to continue to purchase Google in the first place. That said, I would have rather you pushed the launch another 3-6 months so on delivery all features advertised are actually available for use. As it feels rushed for the Android 14 release which remains a little... interesting... upgraded on my other devices. But, as I said this is still technically day 1... or day 2 and these are my observations so far. I'm sure my official review for my blog will be more interesting and less like the ramblings of an insomniac tech junkie getting his fix in the witching hour while the rest of the world sleeps soundly. So, in closing, I'll give it 9 out of 10 stars and hope for a quick release on those updates that were promised while I explore the remaining interface. And, for the love of God, what is with your aversion to allowing dual SIM capabilities for increased storage expansion? 

Granted, in my 6 Pro I purchased the 256GB version and was smart enough to eat the extra $100 this time around and opt for the 512GB version but come on... you can't be hurting that badly for Google One members since most have been somewhat ushered voluntarily - to their thinking - into the 2TB tier. That's the only logical reason for ignoring the mass of fans begging and praying across social media with every viable hashtag to allow the expansion. But, by holding back, it gives no option for those of us with more data driven positions and interests. It's actually pretty brilliant on your part to be honest though I wish you could have kept the Pixel Pass program alive and running as I was looking Forward to joining in this time around. 

Economic downfall be damned, excuses are empty explanations when Apple can launch the same program in the sunset of Google's and even charge slightly less while allowing for earlier upgrades. But, I can only hope there's some kind of logic around the corner. And not the kind that still has my Google Domains in limbo with Squarespace who I'm not much of a fan of. I can only guess the move there being a hope your die hard fans will make the leap to Google Cloud Domains. I won't lie and say I haven't considered it. In any event, the Pixel 8 Pro. So far so good. Let's see where we can go from here. In the meantime the Google Pixel 8 Pro, Watch 2, Buds Pro and all Pixel products are OFFICIALLY BasikBlack Approved! 

This has been A Jonathan Black Observation #AJBO #BasikBlack #BasikBucks #BasikBranding #basikblackapproved #basikreview #review #pixel8pro #pixelwatch2 #googlereview #recommended

To purchase the Pixel Watch 2, Google Pixel 8 PRO or any other items I may have reviewed, they are now easily available on my webstore at or by checking out the "BUY" tab from the main menu of the blog.  

Sunday, October 8, 2023

The Best in Buds - LG TONE FREE T90Q - My Review on the journey for the ultimate sound and serious tech.

The Best In Buds

LG TONE FREE T90Q w Dolby Atmos

My Review on the journey for the ultimate sound and serious tech. 

Written By: Jonathan Black

What is it about crisp clear audio, immersive and dynamic sound that seems to pluck at every last nerve of excitement within me... And likewise pluck at the purse strings of professional clearance-crazy, savings savvy shopper such as myself? 


Sound is something that touches us all on a deeper level and in a different way for each of us. Some are born with a musicians ear and can pinpoint any note out of tune well enough to single out an individual member of ensemble orchestra. Some of us have sub par talents in our own right and are able to pick up and navigate just about any instrument we show interest in yet others can't put together the know-how to hum a note. Still, others have no interest and just happen to know what they like and truthfully there's the latter are probably happier for it. 

I'm one of those types to pick it up quick and usually learn it as fast as my interest was peaked. I'll admit I managed to play over 6 instruments in my life without the ability to read sheet music in a standardized way. I can't tell you what note this or that is by looking at the page, but give me an instrument from my signature woodwind to the ivory keys of the piano and my eyes communicate foreignly to my hands that will perform the music as in correct fashion and in just about any octave. Image how crazy this former first chair band member drive his teachers in school. Then again, my brain always has a different way of learning, absorbing, understanding and ultimately seeing things for how they were. This also put me into a group of people that, able or talented as we are, tend to also lose interest in the midst of another distraction along the way and then it's on to our next brilliant plan - or so we hope. ADHD can be a bitch to burdened with in a time that your teachers and parents simply dubbed you lazy and didn't look much further between the lines. 

Still, I always had the subject of film ingrained in my DNA from the start and it was through my passion and obsession with writing, directing, photography and the essential element of music that I somehow maintained a level of sanity that saw my through enough to be here today writing this article. 

I may not be dominating the field in a position with the major studio players knocking down my door to get a whiff of my artistic wilds or nobely accepting the predictable Oscar for Best Writer/Director to sit with the others in my collection in my home office, but still I've somehow managed a position and place in my life where every day and every project requires a new level of creative energy from my varied talents and - even better - most days challenge me to learn something even further. I'm happy with the challenge and grateful for the chance to share my artistic vision with others no matter what form that may be in. 

So between the dreamer within, the tech junkie that gets to come out and play through various test projects and beta invites, the curious developer that carriers the keys to the back end among Google, AWS, Alexa, various social media companies and most recently has peaked an interest for the inner workings of banking operations and Fintech  (all naturally a tease for the writer within foreshadowing something very interesting, exciting and quiet frankly, unexpectedly out of nowhere to soon be announced 😈) and needing to keep up in my reviews... I spent the greater part of last month searching for the highest quality and overall superior sound harnessed within the small gumdrop size shell for the ultimate in wireless earbuds.

The sad fact is the search went on for weeks despite the few filters and must have features I was in the market for. Truth be told, I wanted a pair that were comfortable and sounded good for my taste. Beyond that I set my requirements with these must have functions:

1. Spatial Audio 

2. Noise cancellation

3. Clear Call ability for cellular use

4. Compatible with my Google Pixel and other home electronics (specifically to be compatible with my PlayStation 5)

5. Bluetooth 5.1 or higher (preferred)

That was roughly all I wanted and it unknowingly was a tall order to find a package with these prerequisites to punch in 1st place under the $200 threshold. 

My latest quest to quench the inner tech junkie and somewhat splurge landed me on this set of LG TONE FREE T90Q earbuds, the first to hit the shelf equipped with Dolby Atmos and Head Tracking Spatial Audio and they're honestly pretty impressive. So, why am I - The OFFICIAL unofficial Google Guy buying LG over the Google Pixel Buds Pro to complete my Google Pixel 6 Pro and daily listening needs?

I'll see it was a VERY CLOSE RACE to the checkout and I researched for a couple weeks straight ... Having never actually owned a pair of earbuds before this and the LG listed at $239/Google Pixel Buds Pro $199 - it's not an easy sum to drop. 

Still, I decided I needed a pair and if I was going to splurge I was going to do it on the right pair - not the cheapest (this is one category my die-hard deal junkie is sad to say there is no gray area.)

Still, convinced of the eternal bargain behind the Blogger, I gave it my best shot and I failed my first try out of the gate! 

---I won't get into those guys here but let's just say LG TONE FREE T90Q has everything. Dynamic immersive sound powered by Dolby Atmos technology and Spatial Audio Head Tracking (the first to do it successfully, too!) and at the end of the day all that means is what you value it at. 

Any music buff, audiophile or casual listener knows that in the land of tech, WHEN IT COMES TO AUDIO, it doesn't matter what the specs list, manufacturers claim or where the price point starts. The only thing that matters is WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE when you power up to - hopefully - rock on. 

I know this. After two previous pairs, LG comes in king and has the depth, richness and range I'm looking for and like to hear. It doesn't matter if it's a set of buds, TV set, stereo or smart speaker - when it comes to audio visual presentation I've been obsessed with immersive 360° sound that makes you feel like you're in the middle of it. I want to be cheering, covered in sweat and jam packed with gyrating bodies spent with exhaustion but willing myself to stand for one more encore in the mega pumped rock concert event of the decade. 

I want to be sitting speechless in a dark and brooding auditorium, holding my breath and the edge of my seat as I listen to the crisp sound of The Grand Orchestra in a classical experience that makes the room and the world itself melt away, only to narrow my attention in anticipation of the next note. 

And yes, I want to kick back in my comfy leather chair in the cool and crisp air conditioning while experiencing a home theater journey for the senses that leave me baffled and asking - what is real anymore?

And, even if it's "only a pair of earbuds" for listening to music and taking calls while multitasking and writing this review - I want to be taken... Away...

What I know is with LG, with these earbuds, I may not be barreling over the edge of the grave canyon in an old Cadillac with my guy on my arm and looking to call it quits fire the "end all-be all." But as I'm sitting here with goosebumps from the haunting ballad "Sleepwalk" plucking away like poetry to my soul, I know that while the end is far to go, with these bad-ass buds, I'm pretty close. 

In the meantime, LG gets my respect and business because they continue to produce quality products that live up to their claims, last well past the next several upgrades and still they manage a reasonable price point with outstanding online 24/7 customer service. 

If it's not Google in my home you're using, it's likely LG! And, as for the earbuds, I highly recommend and give them the Official BasikBlack Stamp of Approval!

A Jonathan Black Observation.

*Affiliate Disclosure: I only recommend products I would and have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own. However, this blog may contain affiliate links that - at no cost to you - I may earn a small commission. *