Why pay for GPT4 when Gemini/Bard is free? Gemini First Impressions

Is free chatbot Bard with Google's Gemini language model now on par with paid GPT-4 access? This blog evaluates depth, capabilities differences, and whether both still provide value.

Why pay for GPT4 when Gemini/Bard is free? Gemini First Impressions

Google recently unveiled its own AI chatbot called Bard, which uses their new language model Gemini. Gemini comes in three versions - Gemini Small, Gemini Pro and the more advanced Gemini Ultra. Google claims that Gemini Ultra will be on par with GPT-4, OpenAI's latest generation language model that is currently available via subscription.

This raises the question - with a free high-quality alternative from Google now available, is there still a case for paying for GPT-4 access?

The Democratization of Intelligence

There is an argument to be made that Google has made a remarkably savvy move by essentially "democratizing intelligence" and making it freely available to the masses. Up until now, access to the most advanced AI systems has come with a hefty price tag, restricting it only to those able and willing to pay.

By offering Gemini through Bard at no cost, Google has simultaneously removed the sole major competitor in the market and positioned themselves to harvest vast amounts of conversational data that can be used to further refine their models. Whether this move was driven by altruistic motives around accessibility or simply an attempt to undermine OpenAI while bolstering their own offerings is up for debate.

Differing Outputs for Different Needs

However, despite Gemini Ultra supposedly being on par with GPT-4, there still appear to be tangible differences in depth, sophistication, and overall usefulness between the two models.

Those integrating AI into serious work or education find significant value in GPT-4's more nuanced responses, insight generation ability, and capacity to tackle complex, multi-step problems. Bard may offer convenience for simpler queries and entertainment, but has yet to demonstrate capabilities on par with the more advanced system.

Your Budget: Weighing the Options

Financial considerations are often the first hurdle when choosing an LLM. The contrasting accessibility models of Gemini/Bard and GPT4 present distinct value propositions for different user groups:


  • Cost-effective: Offering completely free access, Gemini/Bard removes financial barriers and democratizes access to advanced AI technology. This makes it ideal for individual users, students, researchers, and smaller businesses with budget constraints.
  • Limited Customization: While the free tier provides ample functionality, advanced features like API access and fine-tuning remain exclusive to paid tiers.


  • Recurring Cost: Access to GPT4 requires a monthly subscription, potentially limiting its reach for individual users or those with limited budgets.
  • Extensive Customization: Paid subscriptions unlock a wider range of features, including API access, fine-tuning capabilities, and access to specialized models for specific domains.

Beyond the Price Tag: Identifying Specific Needs

Choosing the right LLM goes beyond cost alone. Carefully evaluate your specific needs and priorities:

  • Task-Specific Performance: Analyze the suitability of each LLM for your intended tasks. For general-purpose applications, Gemini/Bard might suffice. However, for specialized tasks like code generation or zero-shot learning, GPT4's superior performance might be worth the investment.
  • API Access and Customization: If your needs involve integrating the LLM with existing software or services, API access and customization options become crucial. In this case, GPT4's paid tiers may offer significant advantages.
  • Domain-Specific Expertise: For applications requiring expertise in a specific domain, such as healthcare or finance, GPT4's pre-trained models for specific domains can offer significant benefits compared to the general-purpose nature of Gemini/Bard.

Privacy and Ethics: Making Informed Choices

With powerful AI technology comes the responsibility of ethical considerations. Carefully compare the data privacy policies and ethical stances of each company:

  • Data Usage and Sharing: Transparency regarding data collection, usage, and sharing practices is crucial. Review each company's policies to understand how your data will be handled.
  • Algorithmic Bias and Fairness: Be mindful of potential biases inherent within the models. Choose companies with a demonstrably strong commitment to mitigating bias and promoting fairness in their AI development.

My Assessment So Far

Based on my testing criteria and AI framework analyzing the knowledge base, syntax, creativity, and logic capabilities of language models, I would assess that Gemini is on par with GPT-4 in terms of knowledge breadth and syntactic fluency. Responses are intelligently structured and smooth-flowing.

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However, the creativity and logical reasoning exhibited noticeably falls short of GPT-4's capacities in these areas. While capable of discussing concepts, Gemini lacks the ingenuity to make insightful connections or evaluate arguments critically. It is also still prone to hallucination, albeit less than Bard originally was.

The heavy censorship further restricts functionality for more advanced use cases requiring imagination or dealing with controversial subject matter. This is a major limitation compared to GPT-4.

On the plus side, Gemini is much faster than GPT-4 and Claude, though still slower than GPT-3.5. It seems best suited currently for syntax-focused applications instead of creative problem solving or reasoning tasks where GPT-4 excels. But with the censorship issues, even tasks leveraging its syntactic strengths encounter walled-off topics.

I'm continuing to explore potential use cases, but the censorship hinders even basic applications. For now, syntax remains its standout area - when you can keep responses away from blocked content. But with major gaps in other engines, advanced users still require GPT-4's unconstrained intelligences.

Comparative Assessment Criteria

To systematically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Bard/Gemini against the current gold standard of GPT-4, we can break down assessment into categorized criteria as follows:

Fundamental Abilities/Syntax Engine: This measures core language comprehension and text generation competencies. Both score equally high here with fluent, intelligible language skills.

Knowledge Breadth and Depth: GPT-4 showcases more expansive knowledge across a wider span of domains. However, Gemini may match or even exceed it in certain specialized niches where Google's ecosystem provides an edge.

Creativity Engine: GPT-4 has substantially greater capacity for originality, emotional expressiveness, and introducing novel ideas. This is a clear differentiator from Gemini.

Cognition/Logic Engine: Similarly, logical reasoning, analytical evaluation, inferencing, and problem solving ability is much more pronounced in GPT-4.

Hallucinations and Content Filtering: Gemini hallucinates less but is strictly limited by heavy censorship policies on blocked content. GPT-4 may produce more inaccuracies but has little-to-no blocked content.

Additional metrics around speed, context handling capability, and output quality reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each model.

In totality, GPT-4 scores around 70% on assessed categories while Gemini trails at close to 50% coverage. So by this criteria analysis, no - Gemini does not appear on par with GPT-4 for advanced professional use cases. Its strengths lie more in knowledge breadth and rapidly answering simpler queries.

Here is a summary of my initial assessment, this is an INITIAL Assessment

Criteria Bard/Gemini GPT-4 Descriptions Scoring
Fundamental Abilities/Syntax Engine 5 5 Assess core competencies like comprehension, text generation, etc. Scale of 1-5 on each ability
Knowledge Breadth 3 4 Evaluate diversity of knowledge across domains Percentage of test queries answered accurately
Knowledge Depth 3 4 Assess expertise in specialized niches Topic-specific accuracy and expert reviews
Creativity Engine 2 4 Test for novelty, emotional resonance, whimsy etc. Scale of 1-5 on creative dimensions
Cognition/Logic Engine 2 4 Gauge logical reasoning, analytical skills, etc. Percentage of reasoning tasks solved correctly
Hallucinations 4 2
Content Filtering 5 3 Document restricted words, topics, etc. List of categories and terms blocked
Speed 4 2 Measure latency between prompt and response Average generation time in seconds
Context Length 5 5 Review memory capacity for prompt details Number of tokens model can utilize
Output Quality 4 4 Assess relevance, grammar, tone for target use case Expert evaluations on custom rubric
Total 48% 68%

Using the Right Tool for the Job

I mean there is merit in using both, at least for now. Each system has areas where it shines over the other, and using multiple tools provides more overall coverage of needs. GPT-4 prevails for those requiring depth, where Gemini/Bard's accessibility and breadth appear better suited for casual use.

The competition between AI offerings will only heat up from here, with increasing convergence and exclusivity around singular platforms. While Bard offers convenience today "for free", beware of what that ultimately costs in data and future limitations. For those with high capability needs, GPT-4 still rules the roost. Though for how long remains uncertain.

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