Google AI features for Gmail and Docs up the ante against Microsoft

Microsoft has made big strides in artificial intelligence, but now Google is fighting back.

Google announces AI features in Gmail, Docs, and more to rival Microsoft

Microsoft has made big strides in artificial intelligence, but now Google is fighting back.

On Tuesday, the tech giant announced new AI capabilities for Google Workspace (opens in new tab) to compete with new AI-driven chat capabilities from Microsoft Bing and Edge. Soon you'll be able to use AI to create text directly in Gmail and Google Docs. Google launches with Gmail and Docs, but plans to expand those features to Slides, Sheets, Meet, and Chat.

A demo of the feature working in Google Docs shows a button with a star and pen icon at the top of the document that says "Help me write". With the click of a button, you can ask the tool to design something (in this case, a job description for a regional sales representative). The tool then creates a job description in a document that you can review, edit, and customize.

Similarly, in Gmail, you can tap the icon at the bottom of the draft and ask it to generate a draft, or elaborate, shorten, bulletize, and adjust the tone of the text if you've already written something in the draft. According to the announcement, Google will be rolling out these features to a "limited set of trusted testers" in the coming weeks.

Ever since OpenAI released the latest version of ChatGPT and then partnered with Microsoft to bring OpenAI generative AI technology to Bing and Edge, Google has been in an unfamiliar position to catch up. ChatGPT's popularity prompted Google to announce "Code Red (opens in new tab)" and its own ChatGPT-like chatbot called Bart. Bard was later held accountable for his inaccuracies, which sent stock prices plummeting. That, along with internal employee reports that Bart's version has been "fixed," leaves Google unusually vulnerable.

But while Microsoft's new toy is currently in the spotlight, Google's announcement is a reminder that despite some setbacks, it's still a key contender in the AI ​​arms race. According to the announcement, 3 billion people use Google Workspace. That means that soon 3 billion people will be using Google's AI capabilities in Gmail and Docs.

Microsoft may have been the first to market with generative AI attached to a flagship product at a big tech brand, but the market belongs to Google.

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