Google previews generative AI features for Workspace users, developers

Google previews generative AI features for Workspace users, developers

New previews include automated email, AI modeling and developer tools.

Credit: Magdalena Petrova

Computing giant Google announced today that it will release previews of three new AI features, including AI composition for Google Workspace, developer prototyping and coding via PaLM and MakerSuite, and validated models for its Vertex AI service.

The Workspace features, currently, are focused on Docs and Gmail. Users can use Google’s AI to rewrite emails in a particular style or tone, or even generate documents out of whole cloth. Simply asking the system to “generate a sales pitch” or similar will create a simple document that users can then edit to meet their needs. The artificial intelligence (AI) can also help redraft documents to fit a more formal tone, or shorten them for brevity, and so on.

According to Gartner vice president Sid Nag, this functionality builds on features that Google has had for some time.

“They’ve had smart compose forever — that’s all part of the language model capability,” he said. “Now they’re taking it to the next level where they’re applying the generative AI functionality on top of it.”

PaLM API allows connection to large language models

The other two major announcements focus more on developers and enterprise users — the first is a PaLM API that, according to the company’s official blog, is designed as an easy point of entry to use Google’s large language models for anything from content generation and chat to more general purpose analysis. That application programming interface (AI) works alongside a tool called MakerSuite, which can be used to create sample code for developers.

“It essentially allows you to quickly prototype ideas for prompt engineering and custom model tuning,” Nag said.

The final major piece announced today by Google is the new functionality for Vertex AI, which is aimed at letting companies use Google’s own technology to create and customise their own AI applications.

The Generative AI App Builder lets users use preset templates to automatically generate bots, custom search engines and even digital assistants very quickly, while the generative AI support coming to Vertex lets them build and customize in a more granular way.

“Google’s launch of the preview of its generative AI offerings is a significant step in advancing the Vertex platform,” said Rowan Curran, analyst at Forrester. “The AI/ML [machine learning] platform market is moving quickly to adopt generative AI capabilities and Google’s announced functionality is similar to what we have seen from of the other major players in the space.”

Google said that it will make the new capabilities available to “trusted testers” throughout the year before rolling them out publicly.

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