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Google releases Duet AI for Workspace; new Meet, Chat tools

The tech giant released its collaboration suite virtual assistant and unveiled new tools to help users summarize and translate meetings and enable teleprompts for presentations.

Duet AI, Google's generative AI assistant for Workspace, is now available -- though the upgrades arrive late, compared with competitive vendors' collaboration platform offerings.

The tech giant Tuesday released Duet AI for Google Workspace in conjunction with its annual cloud computing conference, Google Cloud Next, held in San Francisco this week. During the conference, Google also unveiled new Duet AI capabilities that will be available next year.

Features available in free trial today include content summarization for files in Google Drive and Gmail, automatic notetaking and live translation captions in 18 languages in Google Meet, and voice huddles and conversation summarization in Google Chat.

New Duet AI features unveiled Tuesday include the ability to attend double-booked meetings and new tools for presenters in Google Meet, including real-time teleprompting and automatic translated captions with more than 300 language pairs.

Duet AI's double-booked meeting attendance feature, will be available in Workspace Labs, Google's AI tester program, next year before general availability, according to Google. The tool takes notes for users in one online meeting while they attend another.

The new automatic teleprompting in Google Meet does not yet have a release date. The automatic translated captions will be available in Workspace Labs early next year, according to Google.

Straggling behind competitors with AI offerings

While the new Duet AI capabilities appear useful, Google's generative AI collaboration offerings were unveiled later than those of its competitors, and they do not surpass competitors' offerings, some analysts say.

"I saw this and thought it seemed very 'me too,'" said ZK Research principal analyst Zeus Kerravala. "Every UC vendor now has AI capabilities built into its product."

Google should be a bit embarrassed that Microsoft stole the OpenAI thunder from Google, putting Microsoft in the leader position.
Zeus Kerravala Principal analyst, ZK Research

The contrast is particularly stark when comparing Google with archrival Microsoft, which made a $1 billion investment in OpenAI in 2019 and obtained exclusive licensing for GPT-3 in 2020. In March, Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, which brings generative AI capabilities to Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Teams and Word.

"Google should be a bit embarrassed that Microsoft stole the OpenAI thunder from Google, putting Microsoft in the leader position," Kerravala added.

Frost & Sullivan analyst Robert Arnold agreed that Google is playing AI catchup with competitors Microsoft, Zoom and Cisco.

"It was needed for competitive parity with others in the UCC space," Arnold said of Duet AI.

Lingering hesitation to implement AI

No matter who offers the latest AI technology, customers have to actually want to buy it, said Metrigy analyst Irwin Lazar. According to a soon-to-be-released Metrigy study on end-user perspectives of generative AI, less than 20% of participants would definitely use generative AI when it is available, Lazar said.

"I think the jury is still out with regard to whether or not companies will pay for generative AI licenses such as Duet and Microsoft Copilot," Lazar said.

Nonetheless, the new tools will help with task efficiency. Some features that stood out to COMMfusion principal analyst Blair Pleasant include Duet AI's ability to take notes in a meeting while the user is in another meeting and the real-time teleprompter for presenters in Meet.

"While all generative AI capabilities still require human review to ensure accuracy, these capabilities can be huge time savers, letting workers focus on other tasks," she said.

Mary Reines is a news writer covering customer experience and unified communications for TechTarget Editorial. Before TechTarget, Reines was arts editor at the Marblehead Reporter.

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