Earlier this year, Google announced a new AI project called Project Tailwind, which it described as an AI notebook where people could interact with their notes and train the model based on their document entries. The project was later renamed to ‘NotebookLM’ and is currently available as a prototype.
While NotebookLM works as a standalone app for now, it could likely be later added as a Google Docs or Drive feature where it can assess and read users’ files.
To use NotebookLM, you first need to create a new project. The app then prompts you to add sources, based on which it generates a ‘Source Guide’ - a summary of the entire document, along with some key topics and relevant questions to ask. Since the app is still in its early stages of development, it accepts only up to five sources, with each source no more than 10,000 words long, otherwise the app stops responding.
To put it more precisely, NotebookLM simply works by training specifically on your personal notes to refine the information in your document alone. This means that the tool is not meant to enhance your existing document or research by gathering information for you from the entire internet. It can also provide you with summaries or outlines of your documents to make skimming through them easier.
Raiza Martin, product manager in charge of NotebookLM, says that the model is primarily aimed at exploring user behaviour with regard to engaging with AI tools that are trained on personal data, as compared to those that are trained on the internet.
While NotebookLM is specifically designed to be trained on personal data, the bot does know things from the internet too, which Google says is some general-knowledge information that is actually quite accurate. This is to ensure that the bot can help a user outside of their own research when it can, instead of always responding with “this information is not in your source.”
Looking at the potential it holds, NotebookLM could actually become the most powerful personalized AI tool on the internet if developed further.