At the Google I/O event of 2023, Google launched a series of generative AI updates for Workspace including Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, as a part of upcoming Duet AI, which is built on their LLM PaLM 2. Out of the selected users that it gave access to, Ethan Mollick, associate professor of entrepreneurship and management at the Wharton School, got his hands on beta access to AI-powered Google Docs and shared his experiences on Linkedin, stating that it is pretty impressive how “you can just ask for a document and it creates a completely reasonable draft”.

Mollick added that after just a couple of minutes, it immediately clears that tons of work that can be meaningful when carefully done by humans is now going to be done mostly by AI, with huge implications for how we approach work tasks.

Adding to the point, Sahar Mor, the product lead at Stripe, said that this move is significant as the considerations of privacy and security carry considerable weight, acting as deterrents for companies when it came to adopting OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The presence of a built-in LLM within Google Docs would lead to a diversion of traffic away from ChatGPT, especially among companies utilising Google Workspace.

Google Playing Catch Up

The primary objective of Duet AI is to boost productivity by harnessing AI’s potential to promote smooth collaboration and improve user creativity. For instance, if you write a few key points about a work meeting in Google Docs, the software can generate a refined summary for you. Users also have the option to manually specify the desired tone, such as “whimsical” or “formal”, just like how it can be changed in Microsoft’s Bing. In a video demonstration during the event, Google showcased how AI can be utilised to compose personalised marketing messages for clients, transforming bullet points into a complete email, as well as condensing lengthy email threads in Gmail. 

Back in March, Microsoft Word received a boost with the introduction of Microsoft 365 Copilot, a powerful integration of OpenAI’s GPT, and Microsoft Graph data. Copilot seamlessly integrates with popular Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams, fostering creativity, productivity, and collaboration. It can generate initial drafts for editing and revision, analyse data trends, summarise lengthy email conversations, suggest ready-made replies, and provide real-time meeting summaries and more. 


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