Google has a company-wide mandate to pump out products that use a ChatGPT-style language model, and the latest is Google NotebookLM. This Google’s third notebook app, after Google Notebook (2008-2012) and Google Keep (2013- ). This was originally announced at Google I/O as “Project Tailwind,” but now it’s hitting limited public testing. Google doesn’t quite describe this as a finalized product, calling it “an experimental offering from Google Labs.”
The “LM” in “NotebookLM” stands for “language model,” indicating this wants to apply ChatGPT-style smarts to your notes. It’s hard to know exactly what Google is planning without access to it, but here’s the full pitch:
NotebookLM is an experimental product designed to use the power and promise of language models paired with your existing content to gain critical insights, faster. Think of it as a virtual research assistant that can summarize facts, explain complex ideas, and brainstorm new connections—all based on the sources you select.
A key difference between NotebookLM and traditional AI chatbots is that NotebookLM lets you “ground” the language model in your notes and sources. Source-grounding effectively creates a personalized AI that’s versed in the information relevant to you. Starting today, you can ground NotebookLM in specific Google Docs that you choose, and we’ll be adding additional formats soon.
“Grounding” is language model lingo that means the AI will scan a document of your choosing and will treat the information contained therein as more important than the rest of the information in its training set. Google says, “While NotebookLM’s source-grounding does seem to reduce the risk of model ‘hallucinations,’ it’s always important to fact-check the AI’s responses against your original source material. When you’re drawing on multiple sources, we make that fact-checking easy by accompanying each response with citations, showing you the most relevant original quotes from your sources.”
You might use other notebook apps like Google Keep to store your own information, ideas, and reminders, but NotebookLM seems exclusively geared toward breaking down some kind of source document. You have to add a Google Doc to NotebookLM as a source document, and once you do, you’ll be able to get a summary of the document and ask questions. Google also says you’ll be able to “generate ideas” based on the source document by asking things like, “Generate a script for a short video on this topic,” or an entrepreneur working on a sales pitch could query: “What questions would potential investors ask?”
Google provided a single screenshot of a green and blue interface, showing a block of computer science notes in the middle of the screen and an AI chatbot to the right. The chatbot input field starts with a block that says “1 source,” presumably meaning it will pull data from a source document the person has uploaded. The left side is a navigation panel that lets you switch between multiple notes. There’s also a back button that goes to some completely unknown primary page. It doesn’t look like a complete product, but Google says, “We’ll be talking to people and communities often to learn about what’s working well and where the gaps are, with the intent of making NotebookLM a truly useful product.”
There’s a waitlist up now at notebooklm.google.com, and the product is “immediately available to a small group of users in the US.”