Google Workspace gets colossal AI boost with impressive new generative features for Docs, Sheets, and Slides

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(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Google just announced several AI features that are on the way to Gmail, Google Sheets, Google Docs, and other Google services.
  • AI will be able to summarize content, create suggestions, and rewrite content to help users.
  • Google and Microsoft rival each other in many areas, including the quickly evolving field of artificial intelligence.
  • The news comes in advance of Microsoft's announcement later this week in an obvious attempt to one-up the latter's head start in consumer AI.

Google just announced a new set of AI features for its productivity suite. Gmail and Google Docs will receive the first wave of features in preview later this month. More experiences will make their way to other products in the future.

The features unveiled today strongly resemble capabilities that Microsoft and OpenAI have been working on, such as generating text, composing emails, and generating notes from a meeting. The parallels shouldn't be surprising, as both Google and Microsoft (in partnership with OpenAI) are rushing to compete in the consumer AI space.

The Google news coincidentally comes just two days ahead of Microsoft's similarly planned (and previously announced)  "The Future of Work: Reinventing Productivity with AI" event on March 16, 2023.

Google summarizes the new features that are on the way in a blog post:

  • draft, reply, summarize, and prioritize your Gmail
  • brainstorm, proofread, write, and rewrite in Docs
  • bring your creative vision to life with auto-generated images, audio, and video in Slides
  • go from raw data to insights and analysis via auto completion, formula generation, and contextual categorization in Sheets
  • generate new backgrounds and capture notes in Meet
  • enable workflows for getting things done in Chat

Google demonstrated how some of the features will work in a video as well. With Chrome, Gmail, and Android all proving popular with consumers, Google has a large audience to share AI features with.

Starting this month, those in Google's tester program that are in the United States will be able to try out AI features within Docs and Gmail. Other features will arrive at a later date.

Only a single bullet point from Google mentions images, audio, or video. Google's ability to create content in these categories with AI will be key in competing with Microsoft and OpenAI.

GPT-4, the next iteration of OpenAI's Large Language Model, is multimodal, meaning it will be able to generate content other than text. The extent of its capabilities is unknown at this point, but Microsoft said that GPT-4 will be unveiled this week.

Windows Central take

Google and Microsoft are clearly racing to announce similar features and to get them into the hands of the public. Both companies have reportedly moved presentations forward, seemingly in an effort to be the first to show particular features. That strategy has had mixed results.

The sudden popularity of ChatGPT and other AI tools sparked Google to change its AI strategy, according to reports. Google reportedly announced a 'Code Red' and its upper management decided to push AI into more products.

While Google is working to compete with Microsoft, OpenAI, and other artificial intelligence tools, the tech giant may need to take a more reserved approach. Its ad for Bard cost the company $100 billion due to an error that the AI tool included.

Microsoft's new Bing actually had a similar mistake, but that didn't draw as much criticism. Google is the established leader in search, so its blunders will make more headlines than Bing or anything from OpenAI.

2023 is shaping up to be an interesting year for AI. Consumers will get their hands on some of the most exciting tech to come out in years and major corporations will push each other while trying to establish dominance in the booming space.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at