Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian speaks at the Google Cloud Next event in San Francisco on April 9, 2019.
Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Google is deepening its push into generative artificial intelligence, unveiling features on Tuesday that will let users create text in Gmail and Docs using the company’s AI technology.
The company is testing AI products and making them available to a limited number of Workspace users, which includes Gmail and Google’s productivity tools.
“Whether you’re a busy HR professional needing to create custom job descriptions or a parent writing your kid’s pirate-themed birthday party invitation, Workspace will save you time and effort writing the first draft ,” said Johanna Vulich Wright, vice president of Google Workspace products, in a blog post. “Just enter the topic you want to write about and a draft will be created for you instantly.”
Generative artificial intelligence has become the hottest topic in tech this year after San Francisco-based startup OpenAI introduced its ChatGPT chatbot in November and it quickly went viral. ChatGPT allows users to ask a question or make a request and responds with surprisingly sophisticated and creative answers. Leading technology companies are now rushing to implement similar capabilities in their own products.
With Google’s test, a user can go to a text field in an email and type “write an email to the team.” The app issues a three-paragraph thank-you message that the user can edit, refine, or turn into a bulleted list. The user can also ask the program to try again.
Google boasts more than 3 billion Workspace users. This includes consumers and companies that pay for a subscription.
Google’s main competitor in the market Microsoft 365, the productivity suite that will be called Office 365 until October 2022. Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, will discuss artificial intelligence and productivity software at an online event hosted by LinkedIn on Thursday.
A Google spokesperson told CNBC that the company is giving early access to the new features to consumers, as well as some business and educational users. The company hasn’t said when it will roll out the features broadly, nor has it said whether the additional features will be included in existing packages or will cost extra.
Google said it plans to introduce more AI features to Workspace later this year, including formula generation in Sheets, auto-generated images in Slides, and notes in Meet.
The company recently introduced a “code red” alert for employees to respond to ChatGPT. Last month, Google said it would add artificial intelligence features to its dominant web search engine. Separately on Tuesday, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said the company has begun testing a service for building enterprise chatbots. Cloud Business includes Workspace.
“We are very excited about the potential of generative artificial intelligence and the possibilities it opens up,” Kurian wrote. Kurian said the technology will help people express themselves, enable developers to create new applications and change “how business … components.”
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