Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Gemini 1.5 Pro-powered side panel launching in Gmail, Google Docs, and more 

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Since last I/O, Workspace has rolled out Gemini features like Help me write, organize, and visualize. Google is now ready to launch the side panel in the Gmail, Drive, and Docs web apps with a big Gemini 1.5 Pro upgrade.

The Google Workspace team sees the rollout of Gemini (previously Duet AI) capabilities as happening in phases. The first involved adding the various generative “Help me” features in apps. We’re now on the second wave, which is defined by the side panel and letting users complete various actions across the Workspace apps through Gemini.  

On desktop web, the side panel, which now looks more like gemini.google.com, is officially launching to summarize and analyze your Gmail inbox and Drive files. Results are also grounded in Google Search.

Available in Gmail Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive, the side panel is now powered by Gemini 1.5 Pro. A larger context window allows for more information to be analyzed, while there’s also more advanced reasoning. 

“Google Workspace has the full range of Google’s models available to us and we choose how to deploy our AI based on the needs of a specific query, which means the amount of tokens used varies each time. This is an efficient and effective way to handle the wide range of queries we get. We are continuing to tune our architecture, including building larger context windows to service future needs.”

It’s better at letting you ask questions about particularly long emails, or drafting new messages that reference information from multiple Docs and PDFs in your Drive. 

For example you can ask it to summarize emails from your child’s school or even to highlight the main points from a recording of a PTA meeting you missed.

Starting today, it’s coming to users enrolled in Workspace Labs and the Gemini for Workspace Alpha. All paying Gemini for Workspace customers and Google One AI Premium subscribers will get it next month. 

Looking ahead at the third phase, Google this year will start testing “AI-powered workflows” in Workspace Labs. The goal is to bring “agentive” capabilities that allow for more automation to common tasks than we have today. 

One example provided today was receiving an email about a bill that includes a PDF attachment and the Gemini side panel offering a “Help me organize and track” suggestion. This will create a folder in Drive that adds that bill and any future ones received in Gmail, while also generating a Google Sheets document. 

You can then leverage Gemini in Sheets with Data Q&A for detailed analysis to ask things like “How is my money being spent on business expenses?” or “Show me my expenses by month.” 

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