Google's NotebookLM personalizes the chatbot experience

A 'Death Note' of your very own, except without all the cool supernatural assassin bits.

primeimages via Getty Images

At Google I/O in May, the company revealed its plans to go all-in on AI with the likes of PaLM 2, Bard, and a whole host of intelligent enhancement features for its myriad products. Tucked into that cavalcade of consumerism was a brief discussion of Google's Project Tailwind, an experimental product geared towards students as an "AI-first notebook" to help them stay organized. On Wednesday, Project Tailwind graduated development to become NotebookLM (NLM).

NLM is essentially note taking software with a large language model tacked onto the side, which is "paired with your existing content to gain critical insights, faster." Basically, it's a chatbot that is continually tuned to your specific data set, so when you ask it a question it pulls from just that information rather than the collective knowledge of whatever the underlying model was built with. This process of "source-grounding" ensures that the virtual assistant stays on topic and provides more relevant responses.

That virtual assistant can do all of the normal chatbot tasks including summarizing newly added documents, deeply answering questions about the text corpus, and generating new content from that information. NLM is being made immediately available to a small cadre of beta testers in the US to provide feedback for further development, though there's no word yet on when it will be made available to the general public. If you want to try it early for yourself, sign up on the waitlist.