- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Google revealed new generative artificial intelligence tools Tuesday to assist people in overcoming writer’s block amid growing AI advances accomplished by the tech titan’s rivals that threaten the company’s dominance. 

The AI overhaul of Google’s Workspace products is starting with the company’s Gmail and Docs offerings, as the company appears intent on beating Microsoft to the punch on AI tools for workplace products. 

People who use Google products have likely already encountered the company’s Smart Compose tool that suggests text as a writer types in a document or new email. The company’s forthcoming features will enable people to let automated tools write entire messages and drafts, according to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. 

“In Gmail and Google Docs, you can simply type in a topic you’d like to write about, and a draft will be instantly generated for you,” Mr. Kurian wrote on the company’s blog. “So if you’re a manager onboarding a new employee, Workspace saves you the time and effort involved in writing that first welcome email.”

Mr. Kurian said a “limited set of trusted testers” would get access to the new tools first and Google would roll out the features to a broader audience in the weeks to come. 

Google’s announcement Tuesday comes as Microsoft is expected to roll out its own AI changes for its workplace products this week. Microsoft executives are hosting an event Thursday titled “The Future of Work: Reinventing Productivity With AI.” 

New AI tools for Word and Outlook, Microsoft’s document drafting and email products, as well as other services are expected to come soon, according to the Verge. 

Microsoft said in January it was making a “multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment” in OpenAI, the artificial intelligence startup behind ChatGPT, a chatbot that generates text in response to user queries. Microsoft then said in February it was infusing its Bing search engine with ChatGPT’s tech.

Google rolled out its own chatbot Bard in February and debuted several AI-powered revisions of its Search, Maps and Translate tools. 

Google Vice President Johanna Voolich Wright said Tuesday her company’s collaborative AI partner would also soon help people accomplish goals across more products such as the company’s Sheets, Slides, Meet and Chat products that people use to make spreadsheets, create visual aids for presentations, gather on videoconferences and message each other. 

Ms. Wright said on Google’s website that her company knows its AI tools do not serve as a replacement for real people and insisted the products will improve over time. 

“We’ll launch these new experiences this month via our trusted tester program, starting with English in the United States,” Ms. Wright wrote. “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 and Microsoft are not the only tech companies experimenting with new AI tools. Meta said in February it was testing generative AI features for Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger, while Snapchat launched its own chatbot using GPT tech from OpenAI.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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