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Google Bets on AI to Enhance Workspace Apps

Technology giant Google has announced significant updates to its Workspace productivity suite, integrating AI capabilities across apps like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Meet.

The company believes these new “Duet AI” features will allow users to collaborate more efficiently, visualise data better, and simplify workflows.

While Google has been using AI in Workspace for years in features like Smart Compose and grammar suggestions, this marks a more aggressive push into generative AI. The tech giant aims to make Workspace an intelligent assistant that proactively helps users be more productive.

Gmail Gets AI-Powered Mobile Writing Features

One key update is bringing AI writing aids to Gmail’s mobile app.

Currently only available on desktop, capabilities like Smart Compose and editing suggestions will now allow mobile users to draft emails on the go.

Also, Gmail on mobile will soon automatically fill in relevant contextual details like names and addresses as you type replies.

Google hopes this will allow busy professionals to efficiently respond to emails regardless of whether they are at their desks or in transit.

Early feedback from beta testers validates the utility of AI writing assistance. Adore Me COO Romain Liot shared that generative AI tools have already “accelerated projects and processes” for their globally dispersed team.

Duet AI for Google Cloud

Google Slides Users Can Now Generate Unique Images from Text

Another major new capability comes to Google Slides, where presenters can now instantly produce original images simply by describing them with a few words. This aims to help users visualise concepts and ideas early in the creative process.

For example, a marketer planning a whimsical safari campaign for Parisians could generate bespoke mood board images for their creative agency. By providing visual inspiration upfront, projects can avoid wasted efforts down the line.

Sheets Get AI-Powered Data Analysis

Google Sheets gains new AI functionalities to classify data sets and create custom plans. The data classification tool will automatically label and contextualise information in cells, saving users tedious manual data entry.

Managers reviewing sentiment analyses or recruiters compiling interview feedback can benefit from faster data summarisation.

Sheets’s “Help me Organise” feature also leverages AI to generate tailored plans for tracking tasks, projects, and activities. Describe the goal, and Sheets produces a structured outline to follow.

Event planners, project managers and more can gain a head start on organising work rather than starting from scratch.

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Meet Video Calls Get Unique AI-Generated Backgrounds

Google Meet adopts AI capabilities to create custom video call backgrounds personalised to the user. This helps to express individuality and forge deeper connections during online interactions.

For example, a sales executive could display an AI-generated background reflecting their customer’s niche before a call to indicate familiarity. The feature provides a subtle personal touch while maintaining privacy about the user’s physical location.

Docs Get AI Writing Aids

The Docs word processor also gains new AI capabilities to assist with writing tasks. Google claims upgraded neural models will help proofread for style, tone and clarity across multiple languages.

Docs also tightly integrates with other Workspace apps through “smart chips”. These allow quick access to information like locations and task status without leaving the document.

Users can stay focused on the task at hand rather than constantly switching between apps to find details.

Early feedback from beta testers validates AI productivity gains, with companies like Adore Me, Instacart and Lyft reporting accelerated workflows.

Googles enhanced Chat experience with powerful new features

Chat Gets Real-Time AI Suggestions

Finally, Google Chat receives upgrades, including real-time AI-generated responses during conversations.

The virtual assistant can provide relevant information from Gmail, Drive and more to answer complex queries. Admins gain stronger moderation tools and support for up to 500,000 members in a single space to accommodate large enterprises.

Google positions Chat as an alternative to competitors like Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Existing Workspace customers already have access to Chat, and its deep integration with apps like Gmail and Drive reduces friction.

Google Workspace AI

With this barrage of AI updates across the entire Workspace stack, Google signals its intention to compete aggressively in the productivity software market.

The tech giant believes infusing artificial intelligence throughout Workspace will give it an edge over rivals like Microsoft 365.

But, concerns remain around unethical AI use cases and the spread of misinformation through generative models. Google states administrative controls will allow customers to dictate appropriate AI applications based on their policies. Only trusted testers have access currently.

Nonetheless, early adopter feedback seems promising, with several brands achieving meaningful productivity gains from Workspace AI during the preview period.

Ryan Anderson

Ryan specialises in AI media subjects, covering innovations in AI art, music, and more. His academic background, with an MSc in Product Design Engineering and a Masters of Design from Glasgow School of Art, provides a rich foundation for his writings.

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