Google has announced a bunch of new AI-enabled features for its office software suite that should help streamline professional workflows.
Speaking at Google I/O 2022CEO Sundar Pichai highlighted a feature introduced to Google Docs back in February that lets users generate summaries of long documents. The idea is to help people grasp the most important facts without having to read something in its entirety.
In the next few months, this feature will be extended to Google Chat too, arming users with a bullet list of the most salient moments in a conversation. The feature could be extremely useful for someone returning from holiday, for example, or for high-traffic group channels.
Lastly, Google announced a new transcription feature for its video conferencing software, Meet, effectively eliminating the need for taking minutes. There’s nothing particularly innovative here, but it’s an update that helps close the gap on the likes of Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Google Workspace new look
The updates for the Workspace suite announced at Google I/O are the latest in an series of upgrades that utilize AI to either automate processes or improve the quality of the user’s work.
Last month, for example, the company lifted the lid on a range of new assistive writing features for Docs, including synonym and sentence structure suggestions.
The word processor will also flag up any “inappropriate language” (although the definition is slightly unclear), as well as instances in which the writer would be better served by using the active rather than passive voice.
Separately, an update for Google Drive allows the cloud storage service to intuit which documents a user may want to work on at which time of day, cutting the time spent hunting for specific files.
The campaign to breathe a greater level of intelligence into Workspace apps is one element of a wider strategy, announced at last year’s I/O, which will see Google introduce new synergies between its various app collaboration.
The implicit suggestion was that Google plans to lean into the benefits of its cloud-based model to help rival the level of interoperability between Microsoft products and services, extending all the way out to the Windows operating system on which most business computers run.
The latest Workspace updates may seem relatively insignificant in isolation, but when assessed in the wider context, show that Google is deliberately fine-tuning its software suite to maximize value for time-poor professionals in this new era of hybrid work.
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