UPDATED 14:00 EDT / MAY 10 2023

Aparna Pappu VP & GM of Google Workspace AI

Google introduces generative AI for Workspace and Cloud with Duet AI assistant

Google LLC has been moving swiftly to add artificial intelligence collaboration across its products, and today during its Google I/O developer conference, the company announced that people can collaborate with an AI assistant in Google Workspace.

Google has embedded a generative AI called “Duet AI for Workspace” into Gmail, Docs, Slides, Sheets and Meet that will help users get more done than before.

Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can produce new content or modify content based on large bodies of data that it’s trained on. It’s capable of producing human-quality work such as research reports, articles, summaries and more, and even editing, changing the tone or grammar checking.

“We’ve been embedding the power of generative AI across all the Workspace apps,” said Aparna Pappu (pictured), vice president and general manager of Google Workspace. “These features help you write, help you organize, help you visualize, help you accelerate workflows, have richer meetings and much more.”

Some users have already been able to test out the generative AI features for Docs and Gmail since March in a limited capacity as part of a trusted tester program. They currently allow users to prompt the AI to write for them by asking it things such as “Can you draft an email to my colleague about today’s productivity meeting?” or “Write up these meeting notes into a report based on these bullet points.”

Duet AI’s capabilities are also being brought to Gmail mobile, where it will become a powerful assistant in the palm of users hands, enabling them to quickly draft professional emails from simple prompts. “Imagine being on your phone and having the ability to draft complete responses with just a few words as a prompt,” Pappu said.

By integrating the AI assistant into Slides, users will be able to generate images with just a few words written in a prompt. Duet AI contains image generators that can provide marketing copy and images to help layout and create potential graphics for slides that can help rapidly create imaginative presentations, potentially making any user into a presentation genius in moments even if they don’t usually have the chops. That means they don’t need to sit around wracking their brains about how to do a presentation for a meeting when they really want to be getting on with their work later in the day.

Duet AI can also greatly simplify the creation of a new Sheet. With a simple prompt, a user can ask the AI assistant to organize or create a new Sheet based on a use case, either to produce a brand new one from scratch, or with a contextual understanding of already existing data. For example, a user could open up the AI assistant prompt and type, “Build me a sheet to plan out a day trip” or “Build me a sheet for accounting information for a dog grooming business.” 

The AI now also has a “help me organize” capability in Sheets that automatically creates custom plans for new tasks, projects or activities – all users need to do is describe what they want in a prompt and Sheets will generate a plan that will help get them organized. 

Duet AI for Cloud brings assistance to developers

Cloud developers are also getting a boost from generative AI with today’s Google I/O announcement of Duet AI for Cloud, which brings the power of AI assistance right into the cloud console and coding environment for developers, information technology professionals, security engineers and others.

According to Richard Seroter, director of outbound strategy and enablement at Google Cloud, the objective is to make the lives of developers easier by putting AI at the center of the cloud experience by giving them an assistant that can help them with coding, provisioning, chat assistance and more. Essentially becoming a one-stop shop for anything that they might do when they’re at their console and doing something with their cloud experience.

“It’s changing how developers interact with the cloud platform and make it more human centric, goal oriented and holistic. Kind of a new approach to cloud interfaces and assistance,” Seroter said. “This isn’t just for developers, though. It works if you’re a developer, operator, security professional, frankly even if you’re someone who doesn’t know how to code. We’re trying to help people do their jobs with more confidence, ease and even enjoy themselves.”

To provide assistance with cloud operations, what Google uses is a foundational generative AI model called Codey. Announced today, it’s based on PaLM 2 and was trained on software engineering and coding and is optimized for cloud engineering and operations. It was trained and fine-tuned on everything to do with the cloud and cloud-related resources such as documentation, podcast transcripts and similar material, so Google says it excels at coding suggestions and gives good advice.

With Duet AI for Cloud, developers will get code assistance right in their cloud-based independent development environments, where it will provide code suggestions as they type in real time, generate full functions and code blocks, and identify vulnerabilities and errors in the code, while suggesting fixes. 

The assistance feature will be available across numerous different products such as Cloud Workstations, the fully managed and secure development environment, Google Cloud Console and other code-editing experiences. Developers can also find code assistance in Cloud Shell Editor via Cloud Code IDE extensions for VSCode and JetBrains IDEs.

Duet AI supports a number of programming languages including Go, Java, JavaScript, Python and SQL.

Reducing “context switching” is also important for developers and engineers, which means helping them avoid swapping out of the current tool they’re using to look something up. That’s where the chat assistance function comes in. It allows people to open up a chat with the AI to get answers about cloud-related questions and get real-time answers or guidance on various topics, such as about how to use certain cloud services or get detailed information on how to implement certain cloud projects.

Chat assistance will be available across a large number of Google Cloud environments, including integrated development environments, the Cloud Console, and other products and services. The idea is to allow anyone, from a developer, security professional or operations engineer or someone else to get quick and accurate information.

Users can also create their own intelligent business applications using Duet AI for AppSheet. With a natural language prompt, and no coding required, and guided by natural language prompts, it will build a business app connected to workflows through Google Workspace. It takes all the tedium out of going to the developer team and having a back-and-forth to build it themselves. 

For example, users could ask the AI to build them a simple app to track travel requests. The Duet AI for AppSheets would then take them through a series of prompts to build the necessary notifications, the database linkages, name it, and finally put it together, preview and deploy it.

These early features for Duet AI for Cloud are now available for a limited number of users for early testing to members of the Google Cloud Trusted Tester Program.

Image: Google

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