Artificial intelligence

NotebookLM is Google’s new AI-powered notes app

At Google I/O 2023, Google unveiled a variety of AI-focused developments. Among these was Project Tailwind, a cutting-edge note-taking tool designed to take advantage of large language models to speed up learning. And today, Google announces that Project Tailwind is now published under its new name: NotebookLM.

NotebookLM from Google Labs represents Google’s vision to redesign note-taking software from the ground up, incorporating a powerful language model at its core, hence the name NotebookLM. It will be immediately available to a select group of users in the United States as they continue to refine and improve the product.

Information = Insight

Today’s digital landscape is awash with information and for most of us that can be overwhelming. Students, educators, and professionals struggle to assimilate facts and ideas related to a variety of sources. Even when the required sources are at hand, linking all this data together can be a difficult task.

In light of these types of challenges, Google has been exploring tools that could help speed up the process of establishing a connection in a virtual sea of ​​data, with a particular focus on the sources that really matter to the end user.

Enter NotebookLM

NotebookLM is not your average AI laptop. It’s an interesting product, designed to harness the potential of language models coupled with your existing content to gain deep insights quickly. Think of it this way: it’s like having a virtual research assistant at your disposal to summarize facts, explain complex concepts, and brainstorm new connections, all based on sources. you chose.

Google Cue Note-Taking Web App

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Unlike traditional AI chatbots, NotebookLM allows you to “ground” the language model in your notes and sources. This “grounding” technique effectively establishes a custom AI that becomes adept at the information that matters most to you and ignores the rest. For now, this “grounding” will start with Google Docs of your choice, but other formats will follow soon.

The power of NotebookLM

Once you’ve selected your Google Docs that you want NotebookLM to be “anchored” to, you can use it in three main ways:

  1. To summarize: When adding a Google Doc to NotebookLM, it instantly generates a summary, key topics, and suggested questions to enhance your understanding of the material.
  2. To inform: Ready for a deep dive? Ask detailed questions about your uploaded documents. A medical student could upload a neuroscience article and have NotebookLM “create a glossary of key dopamine-related terms.” An author might request a summary of all interactions between Houdini and Conan Doyle.
  3. Genius idea: NotebookLM can also help users in the formation of creative ideas. Content creators can request scripts for new video ideas. An entrepreneur might upload their pitch and ask, “What questions would potential investors ask?”

While grounding NotebookLM’s sources should – in theory at least – reduce model hallucinations, it’s essential to check the AI’s responses against your original sources. Google seeks to simplify this process by supplementing each response with citations, highlighting relevant original citations from your sources so that you know exactly where the information is coming from at all times.

Building Responsible AI

Designed by a dedicated team at Google Labs, NotebookLM is an experimental product that Google says has two main purposes:

  1. User-centric product development: Our goal is to regularly engage with users and communities to understand what works well and where improvements are needed, with the ultimate goal of making NotebookLM truly beneficial.
  2. Responsible technology deployment: Direct user feedback is essential for responsible AI development. Google is committed to upholding its AI principles, implementing appropriate security measures, and adhering to strict security criteria before expanding to more users and launching new features.

Google says NotebookLM is designed to ensure that the template only accesses source material that you choose to download. Your interactions with the AI, as well as your files, remain private and the data collected is not used to train new AI models. Your privacy and data security are considered top priorities and with this type of tool, Google must be held to these types of standards.

You can sign up to be on the waitlist here if that all sounds good to you, and I can imagine many of you see the direct potential already possible with NotebookLM. From students and teachers to lawyers and content creators, AI isn’t just a passing fad: it’s part of our future, whether we like it or not. Tools like NotebookLM are powerful examples of what developing responsible AI can mean for the world at large, and I know I’m very excited to try it out in the near future.

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