Google is shoving generative AI into Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Meet, Chat and Slides
The updates to Workspace will begin for US users by the end of the month.
Google has been scrambling to catch up to to OpenAI for months, ever since the latter dropped its conversational bot, ChatGPT, and took the generative AI industry by storm. Google's first attempted response with the release of its Bard AI (which immediately misquoted easily verifiable stats about the JWST) was tepid at best so the company has announced a new tact: they're packing every single product they can with AI — just like they did in the Google+ era with social features.
The new features will be coming to virtually all of Google's Workspace products. According to the company users will be able to "draft, reply, summarize, and prioritize" emails, "brainstorm, proofread, write, and rewrite" text documents, autogenerate images and even video with Slides, have Sheets create formulas autonomously, automate transcription notes in Meet and "enable workflows for getting things done" in Chat.
For example, in Docs, users will simply need to type the subject of their assignment into the page to have Google's generative AI suite quickly gin up additional text. The system can also rework (hopefully improving) what the user has already drafted, even if they're just bullet points, using the Rewrite function. There's also a new “I’m feeling lucky” option in Gmail which your company's HR department is just going to adore.
Following the Bard debacle, Google doubled down on its commitment to ensuring that its AIs don't turn out like Miucrosoft's. "AI is no replacement for the ingenuity, creativity, and smarts of real people," Johanna Voolich Wright, VP of Product at Google Workspace, wrote on Tuesday. "Sometimes the AI gets things wrong, sometimes it delights you with something offbeat, and oftentimes it requires guidance." To that end the company is building its products within the bounds of its AI Principles, which are as legally binding as the company's old "Don't be evil" motto. The new AI-enabled Workspace suite is expected to roll out to English language users in the US by the end of the month with additional languages and regions arriving in the near future.