TUESDAY, April 23, 2024
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Google unveils 'magic wand' to draft documents as AI race tightens

Google unveils 'magic wand' to draft documents as AI race tightens

Google on Tuesday unveiled a flurry of artificial intelligence (AI) tools for its email, collaboration and cloud software, taking aim at Microsoft Corp days before its rival is expected to make a similar announcement.

In a replay of last month's duelling chatbot launches by the tech giants, Alphabet, Google's parent company, touted a "magic wand" for its popular Google Docs software that can draft a marketing blog, training plan or other text, then revise its tone at users' discretion, a company official demonstrated to reporters.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has teased a Thursday event about how it is "reinventing productivity with AI," which is expected to showcase its competing Word processor.

Alphabet also said its AI will be able to summarize message threads in Gmail, craft slide presentations, personalize customer outreach and take meeting notes as part of its upgrade to Google Workspace, a product suite with billions of users on free and paid accounts.

The advances reflect how ChatGPT has spurred a race in Silicon Valley to imbue products with so-called generative AI, which learns from past data how to create content anew, just like the chatbot sensation.

Microsoft, Alphabet and peers are investing billions of dollars to build and deploy the technology, hoping the business they win from speeding up writing and creative tasks for office workers will far outweigh the costs of these endeavours.

Google also unveiled a range of generative AI tools for its cloud-computing customers, for instance, previewing access to PaLM, one of its most powerful "large language models" that create human-like text.

Google said customers can fine-tune its AI model with their own data while keeping the information and benefits proprietary.

In another enterprise software example, Google showed how a fictional furniture business could build better customer-service chatbots capable of generating images as well as text, like showing how a corgi dog would look on a mid-century modern chair. The chatbot could integrate with a payments system so a shopper then could buy the chair, a promotional video showed.

Google aims for its AI to "transform" the work of marketers, lawyers, scientists and educators, according to the video.

The Mountain View, California-based company announced a partnership with high-profile AI research lab Midjourney, with Google to provide cloud infrastructure including its custom "TPU" chips.

Microsoft's generative AI rollout so far has outpaced that of Alphabet, which is wary of societal harm as well as damage to its reputation as a reliable source of information.

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