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Amazon Q GenAI assistant out for developers, AWS users

The GenAI tools augment coders and let users query and control their AWS console and data. A new feature in preview lets business users create apps using natural language.

AWS on Tuesday released its Amazon Q generative AI assistants to help developers and business users control their AWS services and find and query enterprise data.

The general availability of Amazon Q Developer and Amazon Q Business come five months after they were first unveiled, along with a preview of Amazon Q Apps, a new capability that lets end users build business productivity apps using natural language.

The moves come amid roiling competition among AWS, Microsoft, Google and Meta to outdo and match each other's advances in large language model (LLM) technology for coders, business users and consumers. The GenAI arms race has seen the tech giants and independent AI vendors roll out new GenAI capabilities monthly.

Q Developer up against GitHub Copilot

Amazon Q Developer is able to suggest and finish code and deploy agents to create new code, similar to the popular Microsoft-owned GitHub Copilot coding assistant, said Daniel Newman, CEO and analyst at Futurum Group.

"What I like about Q and where AWS is heading with it is we can now start to use LLMs with proprietary business data," he said, referring to the Amazon Q Business service.

"The business problem they're trying to solve is bringing all business apps together and putting an interface on top of them," Newman added.

Amazon Q Business uses GenAI technology to help business customers control their AWS consoles, ask questions, generate summaries and complete tasks using enterprise data. Q also has connecters to more than 40 other AWS and third-party applications such as Slack and Atlassian.

The tool is a call-based system in which Q routes queries and commands to the appropriate model in the Amazon Bedrock GenAI platform, which includes Amazon's own Titan model as well as LLMs from multiple third-party vendors.

"Bedrock is all about LLM choice," Newman said.

Meanwhile, Amazon Q Developer aims to make developers more productive and effective by saving them time, said Doug Seven, general manager and director of AI developer experiences at AWS.

"If we can make a five-minute task a two-minute task or a 10-minute task a five- minute task, then we're adding value," Seven said. "We're helping people be more productive."

A conversational coding assistant

When AWS unveiled Q for developers last November, the tool was focused more on predictive code generation. Now it is "more comprehensive, like a conversational assistant," Seven said.

"So it's going from just watching what you're doing and … being present and making code suggestions to enabling the developer to ask questions and ask for help with what they're doing and use generative AI in a much more meaningful way," he continued.

Another thing Q can do for developers, Seven said, is take advantage of LLMs' powerful ability to find and summarize large amounts of information.

"One of the things that people do as they approach large code bases that they're unfamiliar with is ask Q to explain a function or a file or a project to them," he said.

Building faster

Q Apps, the new feature in preview, is aimed at non-technical end users and tailored for business applications such as creating sales scripts or describing product capabilities. AWS has not set a date for general availability for the tool.

What I like about Q and where AWS is heading with it is we can now start to use LLMs with proprietary business data.
Dan NewmanCEO and analyst, Futurum Group

AWS's strategy with Amazon Q, as with the rest of its application ecosystem, is to enable enterprise customers to do things faster, quicker and easier, Newman said.

"It has a lot of potential to be useful and keep people playing in the AWS sandbox," he added.

The GenAI assistant's limitations will likely be seen in Amazon Q's dependence on the quality of the LLMs and data that are accessible to it, Newman said.

Also generally available now is Amazon Q in QuickSight, the tech giant's cloud-native business intelligence service.

With Q, QuickSight users get what AWS calls a "generative BI assistant" that enables business analysts to quickly build BI dashboards and easily create visualization.

AWS also launched two free online courses to educate users about how to use Amazon Q.

Shaun Sutner is senior news director for TechTarget Editorial's information management team, driving coverage of artificial intelligence, unified communications, analytics and data management technologies. He is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of news experience.

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