Google Gemini app launches in UK and EU

Google’s Gemini app is now available to download for users in the UK and the EU who were left out of the initial rollout due to regulatory hurdles.

Android users in most of Europe can now download the app via Google Play Store, while it will be released to iOS users “over the next couple of weeks,” the search giant said.

Google’s advanced AI assistant launched in February as a rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The release of Gemini’s mobile version followed in 150 countries, including the US, but not in Europe.

It mirrors the expansion of Bard, a chatbot that Gemini replaced. Due to stricter privacy laws in the continent, Bard also reached European users several months after its launch in March last year.

Meta’s microblogging platform Threads also launched later in the EU due to concerns over the app’s compliance with the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR.

Millions more users will now be able to use Gemini on the go, while owners of Google Pixel phones can also replace the usual Google Assistant with the chatbot. It means that Gemini can be activated with the “Hey Google” command.

“With the Gemini app on your phone, you can type, talk or add an image for all kinds of help: you can take a picture of your flat tire and ask for instructions on how to change it, or get help writing that thank you note,” Jules Walter, product manager for Gemini, said in a statement.

“It’s an important first step in building a true AI assistant – one that is conversational, multimodal, and helpful.”

The expansion of the app’s availability comes as Google moves into its “Gemini era,” which means incorporating AI features into almost all aspects of its business, including Gemini-powered Chromebook laptops.

Microsoft has also recently announced AI-powered laptops and tablets complete with its Copilot AI assistant, while the Microsoft-backed OpenAI released the new version of ChatGPT.

However, the rapid adoption of AI has not been without issues. Google had to apologize after Gemini generated the images of 1940s Nazi soldiers inaccurately depicting them as having various racial backgrounds.

Meanwhile, OpenAI had to withdraw one of its ChatGPT voices after facing criticism that it sounded “eerily similar” to that of actor Scarlett Johansson. The actor suggested that the firm used her voice without her consent.