Imagine writing up a meeting summary or business proposal in Google Docs, and the doc talking back. Google developers are aiming to incorporate AI “as a collaborative partner” that is “always there to help you” while working in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, as well as Google Meet and Chat. The announcement came in the form of a March 14 blog post by Johanna Voolich Wright, vice president of product for Google Workspace.
The AI tools are poised to help with brainstorming, proofreading, writing and rewriting in Google Docs, Wright said. Slides will create auto-generated audio, images and video; Sheets will autogenerate formulas; Meet will take notes; and AI will “enable workflows for getting things done” in Chat, Wright added.
Per Google’s example, a user can ask Docs to help them write a job listing, and it will autogenerate a job description with responsibilities and necessary qualifications. Similarly, a user can jot down notes in Gmail and engage the “formalize” option to add polish to their writing, “elaborate” to beef up their email or “shorten” to make their text more concise.
Currently, the integrations are being reviewed by Google’s “trusted testers” in the U.S.
Notably, on the same day, OpenAI launched GPT-4 and Microsoft opened its Bing AI search capabilities to the public. And on March 16, Microsoft unveiled Copilot, an AI assistant for the Office 365 suite.
These announcements come one month after one tech writer’s “deeply unsettling” conversation with Bing’s AI shook up the internet. With increased participation and discourse, many pundits and Twitter users have called for more AI regulation. Software developers have posited that with more use, the kinks of AI will be worked out. In February 2023, Microsoft published a blog post thanking users for playing with its Edge chatbot.
“We are grounded in the reality that we need to learn from the real world while we maintain safety and trust. The only way to improve a product like this, where the user experience is so much different than anything anyone has seen before, is to have people like you using the product and doing exactly what you all are doing,” the statement said.
In announcing Workspace’s upcoming AI integration rollout, Google leadership emphasized the importance of the human element, saying that the technology gets better with feedback.
“From there, we’ll iterate and refine the experiences before making them available more broadly to consumers, small businesses, enterprises and educational institutions in more countries and languages,” Google’s Wright said. “In the same way that we revolutionized real-time collaboration with co-authoring in Docs 17 years ago, we’re excited to transform creation and collaboration all over again in Workspace.”