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

Google Workspace
(Image credit: Google)

With human prompt-driven generative AI having taken the zeitgeist by storm in products like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E, it was only a matter of time before Google entered the fray.

“Developers and businesses can now try new APIs and products that make it easy, safe and scalable to start building with Google’s best AI models through Google Cloud and a new prototyping environment called MakerSuite,” said Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in a blog post.

He also said that new generative AI features in Google Workspace would help users better create and collaborate on content. 

Google’s AI investments

While Microsoft opted to invest in OpenAI (twice, even) to bring ChatGPT to its Bing search engine, Google has developed its own solutions for Google Cloud and Google Workspace customers.

Google Docs already auto-generates summaries for documents, and Smart Compose in Gmail already predicts recipient names and other words. 

However, the biggest development for businesses is that the apps are being dragged in line with ChatGPT’s own feature set, being able to take prompts like “Job post for a regional sales rep” or “Vegetarian pasta recipe” and turn them into text.

Only “select” developers can access the Google Cloud tools in private preview right now, although it promises that a waitlist will be opening soon. It’s a similar case for Google Workspace’s new generative AI features, which will only be available to “a limited number of trusted testers” in the next few weeks.

And perhaps it’s good that Google seems to be taking its time getting its AI implementation for Workspace right, given that Bing’s implementation of ChatGPT was threatening users until Microsoft stepped in.

So, despite that “code red” in December 2022, it’s not quite the case that Google Cloud, a subsidiary of the tech giant with an annual run rate (ARR) of around $29 billion, is chasing the tail of a trend or caught in an arms race with its main competitors.

Kurian did announce in February 2023 (notably after Microsoft’s own announcement of its partnership with OpenAI) that Google was investing over $300 million into Anthropic - an AI startup composed of several former OpenAI senior executives but claims that the similar investments had been happening “for years.”

Its ultimate aim, with that investment, is to power Anthropic’s chatbot, Claude, with Google Cloud infrastructure.

Luke Hughes
Staff Writer

 Luke Hughes holds the role of Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro, producing news, features and deals content across topics ranging from computing to cloud services, cybersecurity, data privacy and business software.