Google has unveiled a set of new AI-driven features that will be added to its Workspace applications in the coming months. The features will include the ability to generate, summarize and brainstorm text with AI in Google Docs; the option to generate full emails in Gmail based on brief bullet points; and the ability to produce AI-generated imagery, audio, and video to illustrate presentations in Slides.
The announcement follows Google’s drive to keep up with its competitors in the AI race. Since the arrival of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year and Microsoft’s launch of its chatbot-enabled Bing in February, the search giant has been working to develop similar AI capabilities. Google reportedly issued a “code red” last December, urging its staff to add AI tools to all its user products in a matter of months, reported The Verge.
Despite the announcement of the raft of new features, only the AI writing tools in Docs and Gmail will be available to a group of US-based “trusted testers” this month. Google has said that the features will be available to the public later in the year, but no specific date has been announced.
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The AI-powered features that will be coming to Workspace apps in the future include drafting, replying, summarizing and prioritizing Gmail; brainstorming, proofreading, writing and rewriting in Docs; creating auto-generated images, audio, and video in Slides; auto-completion, formula generation, and contextual categorization in Sheets; generating new backgrounds and capturing notes in Meet; and enabling workflows for getting things done in Chat.
Of all the new features, the AI writing and brainstorming tools in Docs and Gmail could prove to be the most potentially useful. In a demo, a user is shown the prompt “Help me write” and then enters a request: “Job post for a regional sales rep.” The AI system then completes the job spec in seconds, allowing the user to edit and refine the text.
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Google has explained that the new features will save users time and effort in creating content. For example, a busy HR professional who needs to create customized job descriptions or a parent drafting an invitation for a child’s pirate-themed birthday party can use Workspace to generate a draft instantly. With the collaborative AI partner, users can continue to refine and edit, receiving more suggestions as needed.
Another feature will allow users to rewrite text or expand it using AI tools. Users can jot down a few bullet points about a work meeting, and Google Docs can expand this into a “more polished summary,” with users able to manually specify the tone. In a video demo, Google shows AI being used to write personalized marketing messages for clients, turning bullet points into a full email, and summarizing the contents of a long email chain in Gmail.