Google announces AI features in Gmail, Docs, and more to rival Microsoft
Several future generative AI features for Google’s Workspace apps, including Google Docs, Gmail, Sheets, and Slides, have been unveiled.
The new features include the ability to create AI imagery, audio, and video to illustrate presentations in Slides (similar to features in both Microsoft Designer, powered by OpenAI’s DALL-E, and Canva, powered by Stable Diffusion) and new ways to generate, summarise, and brainstorm text with AI in Google Docs (similar to how many people use OpenAI’s ChatGPT).
The declaration demonstrates Google’s determination to overtake rivals in the new AI race. The search giant has been rushing to introduce comparable AI features ever since ChatGPT debuted last year and Microsoft released Bing with chatbot support in February. According to reports, the business issued a “code red” in December, ordering staff to quickly incorporate AI technologies into all of its consumer products, which are utilised by billions of people.
But Google is unquestionably moving too quickly. A set of “trusted testers” have access to the AI writing tools in Docs and Gmail, the business revealed on March 30. It also pledged to provide updates on how the tools were being utilised. Its Bard counterpart, which is already available to at least some members of the general public who joined the waitlist, is rolling out availability in a manner similar to this. Other than saying we can anticipate seeing them later this year, the business hasn’t said when the other tools it disclosed will be made accessible to testers or the general public.
The whole list of AI-powered features that Google promises will eventually be added to Workspace apps is shown below:
- Draft, reply, summarize, and prioritize your Gmail.
- Brainstorm, proofread, write, and rewrite in Docs.
- Bring your creative vision to life with auto-generated images, audio, and video in Slides.
- Go from raw data to insights and analysis via auto-completion, formula generation, and contextual categorization in Sheets.
- Generate new backgrounds and capture notes in Meet.
- Enable workflows for getting things done in Chat.
The AI writing and brainstorming capabilities in Documents and Gmail appear to have the most potential out of all the new features. In a sample demo (GIF above), a user enters the request “Job post for a regional sales rep” after seeing the prompt “Help me write.” The work spec is then finished for them by the AI system in a matter of seconds, allowing them to update and improve the text.
Users will be able to extend or rewrite text utilising AI technologies thanks to a similar capability. Google suggests that you list the main elements of a work meeting in a few bullet points. Users can explicitly choose the tone (whether it should be “more whimsical” or “formal”) and Google Docs will then develop this into a “more polished summary,” for example. Google demonstrates how AI can compose customised marketing messages for customers, expand bullet points into a full email, and summarise the contents of a lengthy email chain in Gmail in a video demo. (Again, these characteristics are rather common. Recently, Slack announced that it would employ ChatGPT to produce comparable summaries of chats.