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Box adds Google Vertex AI integration for document AI

Box deepens Google partnership to add Vertex AI features, availability in Google Cloud Marketplace, and additional Google Workspace and Google Cloud Platform integrations.

Box Inc. plans to give users features that tap Google Vertex AI models to auto-populate documents with metadata.

Document tagging is a less exciting application of generative AI than making flashy artwork, poetry or marketing copy. But it is a real problem among enterprise IT leaders who grapple with ever-expanding document repositories, Deep Analysis founder Alan Pelz-Sharpe said.

"You're not just talking about speeding something up. You're talking about getting rid of manual key entry and reducing errors -- real business value," Pelz-Sharpe said. "That's not an area that Box has played in before, and it definitely opens up huge opportunities for them. But it's all down to what they do with this opportunity -- whether they let it slip between their fingers or they really run with it."

Some of that business value in "managing the document sprawl" can be quantified as saving hours of employee time surfacing lost documents needed for current work. But value can be found in even more obvious ways, Pelz-Sharpe said, such as grouping all a company's documents that haven't been touched for five years so IT admins can move that data to cheaper storage.

"It's so hard to answer questions [and] extract insights from millions or billions of files, terabytes or petabytes of data," said Ben Kus, Box CTO. "It's historically been locked up until somebody goes in, reads it and understands it. It's now possible for generative AI to help you in that process."

With AI comes complicated pricing

Pricing for AI services, especially when one cloud vendor uses another's AI, is rarely straightforward. Box's AI is no exception, although CEO Aaron Levie has said he wants to include some use of AI services to users whose companies subscribe to Box's flagship Enterprise Plus license without additional cost, unlike the various Microsoft Copilots, which require separate licenses.

To that end, Enterprise Plus users will be able to access these features -- including the ones that went live last month and Vertex AI features to come next year -- for free, within limits. Box allots 20 queries per month for end users and 2,000 more queries per month to each enterprise. Additional consumption pricing begins after that.

Levie also pressures AI vendors to lower prices, as he did with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman at the BoxWorks user conference last month.

Pelz-Sharpe said that even in a down economy in which many CFOs suddenly turn frugal, Box's metadata document AI features will be a no-brainer for large organizations to implement. While the potential for expanding AI vendor costs certainly is there, he said those costs will be far less than paying humans to tag documents. It will also be cheaper in the long run than avoiding it altogether -- the more common approach.

"Generative AI technology is impressive, but where is the money? The money is in the enterprise," Pelz-Sharpe said. "The money is in automation. The money is in [tagging] the billions and billions of files that are stored in Box and [Microsoft] SharePoint. Everybody's been avoiding that because it's hard, and here we go. This is what we can start doing now. We can start making some sense of this chaotic file mess."

More facets to Box-Google partnership

Generative AI technology is impressive, but where is the money? The money is in the enterprise.
Alan Pelz-SharpeFounder, Deep Analysis

Box also deepened its Google Workspace integration, letting Box users create, collaborate in and save content in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides from within the Box environment. It also added Box as an attachment source within Gmail and linked Box notes to Google Calendar events.

"We really appreciate the partnership with Box, as they try a lot of our different models and give us lots of different feedback so we can continue to make sure that we're giving them the best of our models and make sure we have the right choices to solve the different use cases their customers are asking for," said Stephen Orban, vice president of migrations, ISVs and marketplace at Google Cloud.

Box and Google also said Box is now available on the Google Cloud Marketplace, which consolidates procurement and billing for joint Box and Google Cloud Platform customers. Box also said it will expand its use of GCP services for infrastructure, Google BigQuery and Bigtable as well as for data analytics and machine learning services for Box users.

Don Fluckinger covers digital experience management, end-user computing and assorted other topics for TechTarget Editorial.

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