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Google Workspace goes full AI

At the Google Cloud Next 2023 conference in San Francisco this week, Duet AI moved artificial intelligence to the centre of the search giant’s enterprise offering.

Google Workspace is arguably the world’s most popular productivity tool, with Gmail in particular driving its growth to more than 3-billion users, with 10-million paying for the privilege.

Now the search giant is ramping up its offerings to businesses, introducing more than a dozen artificial intelligence (AI) tools into its enterprise offering during the Google Cloud Next 2023 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The most significant of these is Duet AI, which it describes as “a powerful collaboration partner that can act as a coach, source of inspiration, and productivity booster”.

Aparna Pappu, Google Workspace GM and vice president, painted this picture of how it can work in daily life, on the division’s blog:

“Imagine you’re a financial analyst and you get an email at 5 PM from your boss asking for a presentation on Q3 performance by 8 AM tomorrow — we’ve all been there. Instead of scrambling through forecasts in Sheets, P&L Docs, Monthly Business Review Slides, and reading emails from the regional sales leads, you’ll soon be able to simply ask Duet AI to do the heavy lifting with a prompt like ‘create a summary of Q3 performance’. Duet AI can create a whole new presentation, complete with text, charts, and images, based on your relevant content in Drive and Gmail. A last-minute request that once called for an all-nighter, can now be completed before dinner time.

Meetings you’ll love — even the ones you miss

“For many of us, our days are filled with meetings and it can be exhausting to attend so many, or worse, try to catch up on the ones we miss. What if there was a way for Duet AI to make our meetings less fatiguing and more fulfilling?

“The most important part of any meeting is being clearly seen, heard, and understood, but sometimes things can get in the way, like camera and sound quality, a slow internet connection, or language barriers. We’re putting Duet AI in Google Meet to help ensure you look and sound your best with studio look, studio lighting, and studio sound. And because sometimes it’s hard for remote participants to see everyone in the conference room, or their colleagues appear far away and out of focus, we’re rolling out dynamic tiles and face detection that give attendees in a meeting room their own video tile with their name. We’re also launching automatic translated captions for 18 languages; Meet will automatically detect when another language is spoken and display the translation in real time.

“And to help you better engage during meetings, we’re removing the burden of note-taking and sending out recaps. Duet AI can capture notes, action items, and video snippets in real time with the new “take notes for me” feature and it will send a summary to attendees after the meeting. It can even help get latecomers up to speed with ‘summary so far’, which gives a quick snapshot of everything they’ve missed. But what if you can’t make the meeting and have some input to share? With ‘attend for me’ Duet AI will be able to join the meeting on your behalf, delivering your message and ensuring you get the recap.”

Staying connected just got easier

“Not every conversation needs a meeting, and sometimes collaboration happens on the go. You might just need a quick chat to connect with your team or solve a problem. Google Chat now makes that a whole lot easier with a refreshed user interface, new shortcuts, and enhanced search that let you stay on top of conversations. You can also chat directly with Duet AI to ask questions about your content, get a summary of documents shared in a space, and catch up on missed conversations.

“When you need to talk it through in real time, you can switch to voice in an instant with huddles in Chat, right from the space where you’re already collaborating. Huddles are audio-first, impromptu gatherings powered by Meet that help distributed teams come together in real time without having to jump into a separate scheduled meeting. We’re also making it easier to build larger communities across Chat, with support for up to 500,000 participants. And for those times when you need to respond to a timely email but you’re on the move, or focused on a top priority, we’re enhancing smart reply in Gmail with Duet AI, allowing you to draft longer personalised replies — with a single tap.”

* Duet AI will cost $30 per month. Request a free trial here.

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