Google introduces Duet AI and Sidekick for Workspace

Under a jam packed Google IO, Google introduced new upgrades to Google Workspace with AI at the focus. Google Duet AI wants to be your buddy when working on Docs, Sheets, Slides & Gmail.

Google introduces Duet AI and Sidekick for Workspace thumbnail image
The author of this post is Francesco D'Alessio
Francesco D'Alessio

Thursday 11th May, 2023



Google introduced a handful of updates for Google Workspace that outlined Duet AI as a technology that lived and breathed in your workspace allowing you to make better decisions in Google Sheets with structure, add speaker notes to Google Slides and even help you craft better emails inside your Gmail, all in a battle to compete with Microsoft Co-Pilot operated using the technology from OpenAI.

Watch the full Google IO keynote to get all the gems on Google Workspace releases.

What is Duet AI?

Duet AI simply lives within Google Workspace to help you get tasks done.

Think of a chat-like assistant that will help you, with good prompts, to get more done when working on a specific tasks in Google Sheets, Slides, Docs and even Gmail too. They intend to bring this to live and bridge across all your Google Workspace docs, files and information with the tool or app you are currently using.

Instead of jumping around for information, Duet AI wants you to stay on task and use the decision-making and creativity elements of the AI to help get better work done, without you leaving the tool too much.

Sidekick is the internal name for Duet AI's pop-up function that will allow you to enhance documents, sheets, slides and emails - by scanning the page and operating interactions between your Google Workspace services.

Examples of Duet AI

Well documented in the video, Gmail is a good example of how the "graph" like tool will work allowing users to cross pollinate information.

Say you began drafting an email regarding your business's April 2023 sales. Well, the concept would be you'd pop open Google Sidekick and it would allow you to extract data from Google Sheets - say "Revenue: 2023" - and bring that into the email you are writing without the need to open that Google Sheet, extract the information and then do said task.

A small interaction, but add all those up across a work day and the administration of an activity can really help.

Alternatives to Google's Duet AI

Google Workspace have taken direct inspiration from Microsoft with this release. Microsoft Co-Pilot introduced their AI abilities a few months ago, with a focus on enterprise customers getting their hands on AI through Outlook, OneDrive, and other 365 tools. Even expanding on this in early May with new AI features coming to Microsoft Whiteboard and more.

Now, Google wants a piece of this pie with Duet AI. Many of the features we see will be a replicate of the experience of Microsoft, like Gmail for example, where in Duet AI you will be able to bring in data from another app, Microsoft Co-Pilot allows for this and uses the "Microsoft 365 Graph" to scan across the board - from emails to documents.

The two are very similar, but currently under early access with Microsoft recently opening that up to only 600 customers globally, like Willy Wonka at the chocolate factory.

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