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Google’s AI-powered notes app is now called NotebookLM, and it’s launching today

Illustration: The Verge

Project Tailwind, the AI-backed note-taking tool that Google launched at this year’s I/O developer conference, is rebranding. It’s now known as NotebookLM, and it’s launching today to “a small group of users in the US,” according to a Google blog post. (The LM stands for Language Model because Google really wants to make sure you don’t forget about all the AI in here.) The product hasn’t changed, though: Google’s still trying to give users their own personal AI, trained on their data and notes and able to help them make sense of it all.

The core of NotebookLM seems to actually start in Google Docs. (“We’ll be adding additional formats soon,” the blog post says.) Once you get access to the app, you’ll be able to select a bunch of docs and then use NotebookLM to ask questions about them and even create new stuff with them.

Google offers a few ideas for things you might do in NotebookLM, such as automatically summarizing a long document or turning a video outline into a script. Google’s examples, even back at I/O, seemed primarily geared toward students: you might ask for a summary of your class notes for the week or for NotebookLM to tell you everything you’ve learned about the Peloponnesian War this semester.

These are the kinds of features you’ll hear about in practically any AI product, but Google is hoping that by limiting the underlying model only to the information you’ve added yourself, it can both improve the model’s responses and help mitigate its tendency to confidently lie about everything. (Google’s not unique in this idea, either: Dropbox, Mem, Notion, and many others are pursuing similar hyper-specific AI tools of their own.) NotebookLM also has citations built in, which should make it easier to quickly fact-check the automatically generated responses. But Google does warn that NotebookLM might still hallucinate and that the model won’t always get it right. It also, of course, depends on the information you provide — if you wrote down the wrong dates for the Peloponnesian War in class, it can’t help you.

Google says that the NotebookLM model only has access to the documents you choose to upload and that your data is neither available to others nor is it used to train new AI models. This is one of the trickiest parts of a product like this: Google is asking users to give their private information to an AI model in exchange for some convenient and useful features, and that tradeoff gets more complicated the more sensitive the information becomes.

That may be why Google is starting small. NotebookLM is still only accessible via a waitlist in Google Labs, and the introductory blog post reiterates a few times that the product is still in its infancy. But just as the Search Generative Experience has the potential to reshape Google Search, don’t be surprised if NotebookLM looks a lot like the long-term future of Google Drive.


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