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Google adds another AI dollop to Workspace to catch up with Microsoft

The burgeoning AI renaissance is making headlines across the tech world today. Google is adding another AI dollop to its Workspace software, which already features Smart Compose for Gmail and auto-generated summaries in Google Docs. The company said this week that it was bringing generative AI to its Workspace toolbox.

With generative AI, machines take human prompts and produce fully written documents that can be used for a variety of purposes, including for marketing, legal and educational applications. Google says these tools will help users create emails, business plans and training materials more quickly and effectively.

Generative AI, or “natural language generation,” is an emerging AI technology that lets computers learn to write human-quality documents by prompting them with a series of questions or requests. Experts say such systems can make major changes to many different industries and professions.

But such systems are also prone to misinformation, especially when trained with data that contains racial and gender biases. That’s why it’s important for companies to use them responsibly.

That’s why Google is only offering generative AI features to a group of “trusted testers” this month. This means it’s not widely releasing the new AI tools, and Google is promising that its generative AI will never be able to respond in an abusive or threatening manner.

We believe generative AI will open up new opportunities for developers and people. It will help them express themselves, build brand new types of software and change how we interact with businesses and governments. Stay tuned for more in the weeks and months ahead.

This is part of a growing effort by Google to catch up with Microsoft, which is now adding ChatGPT, a chatbot-like system that can produce human-quality writing. Both companies are trying to compete for the hearts and minds of businesses, government agencies, education institutions, and more.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has been focusing on large enterprise customers that are entrenched in its Office software. While it’s a challenge, it also presents the opportunity to swoop in on a number of smaller and younger companies that have yet to become entrenched in Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure or collaboration software.

According to a 2022 study from Forrester, 37% of information workers who participate in videoconferencing use Microsoft Teams most frequently. That’s well behind Google Meet and Zoom, which are popular among information workers who prefer to hold meetings online.

While Microsoft’s strategy to build a massive base of large enterprises has helped it dominate the market, many employees think that Google could have been more aggressive and won big customers. In fact, leaders at the company believe that Google should be leading not only Gmail but other areas such as Workspace, sources told Insider.

One key mistake Google made when it was building up its Workspace service is that it didn’t sell most seats directly to customers, rather than through salespeople. That strategy was based on Oracle’s model, and it hasn’t worked as well as Google would have liked.