Google Continues Expansion of AI in Workspace, Dev Tools
One could capsulize the dozens of news announcements made Aug. 29 on Day 1 of Google Cloud Next 23 this way: Business users and software developers alike will be able to do a lot more work in shorter time frames by simply writing simple queries, then pointing and clicking in the company’s AI-augmented workplace and development apps.
It’s all about the application understanding a user’s intentions and being prepared ahead of time as to what the use case entails. Google Next 23, the first in-person Cloud Next since before the pandemic in 2019, was expected to draw more than 20,000 attendees to the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week.
“We are in an entirely new era of cloud, fueled by generative AI,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told a packed opening day audience. “Our focus is on putting gen AI tools into the hands of everyone across the organization — from IT, to operations, to security, to the board room.”
Here are product and services highlights of what the world’s largest and most successful search provider revealed at the conference.
Duet AI in Workspace
Duet AI in both the line-of-business workplace and in developer teams seemed to make the most news.
Google Cloud introduced for general availability Duet AI in Workspace, which makes the Workspace app come alive, at its I/O conference in May and described how it was going to work in theory. Today the company showcased exactly what it does, demonstrating new features that create the right type of document for a particular use case, connect and integrate disparate articles and blogs, and find appropriate images. It can even provide suggestions when the user is stuck on a problem.
For example: An employee wants to create a new marketing presentation for a client’s company. Starting in Google Drive with the enclosed Duet AI app, the user can prompt for the type of doc (say, Slides), enter the name of the client and search for any images or charts, forms or PDFs connected with the client. Duet AI automatically gathers all the elements and creates a multipage presentation — complete with headlines, text, images and charts — within a few minutes. Provided with a sophisticated-looking prototype, the user then can edit, rearrange and change anything needed to finalize the project. Having a head start like that obviously can save hours or days of time.
Other new options include:
- Duet AI in Google Meet: Duet AI can take notes during video calls, send meeting summaries and even automatically translate captions in 18 languages. Duet AI in Meet also unveiled studio look, studio lighting, and studio sound.
- Duet AI in Google Chat: Users can chat directly with Duet AI to ask questions about their content, get a summary of documents shared in a space and catch up on missed conversations.
Google Workspace VP Aparna Pappu said on stage that her team is working on enhancing Duet “so that we can go from a prompt-based interaction to a much richer contextual interaction that takes into account what you’re working on. Whether it’s an email, a document or a spreadsheet, it will offer you proactive help, such as generating summaries or suggesting creative ideas. Soon it will even take action on your behalf.”
Duet AI in Google Cloud for Developers
The company previewed the capabilities of Duet AI in Google Cloud, with general availability coming later this year. Beyond Workspace, Pappu said, Duet AI will provide AI assistance as a coding assistant to help developers code faster, as an expert adviser to help operators troubleshoot application and infrastructure issues, as a data analyst to provide quick and better insights, and as a security adviser to recommend best practices to help prevent cyber threats.
Pappu said that Duet AI in Google Cloud is designed to serve as a trusted tool for developers in software development, infrastructure ops, data analytics, security ops and databases. In software development, Duet AI will enable developers to stay in flow state longer by minimizing context switching to help them be more productive. In addition to code completion and code generation, it can assist with code refactoring and building APIs using simple natural language prompts.
In infrastructure, operators can chat with Duet AI in natural language directly in the Google Cloud Console to retrieve “how to” information about infrastructure configuration, deployment best practices, and expert recommendations on cost and performance optimization, Pappu said. In data analytics, Duet AI in BigQuery provides contextual assistance for writing SQL queries as well as Python code, generates full functions and code blocks, auto-suggests code completions and explains SQL statements in natural language, and can generate recommendations based on specific schema and metadata.
In security operations, Duet AI will be coming later this year to security products that include Chronicle Security Operations, Mandiant Threat Intelligence, and Security Command Center.
Google said that user code, user inputs to Duet AI and recommendations generated by Duet AI will not be used to train any shared models nor used to develop any products.
Vertex AI Gets Upgrade
Vertex AI is a development platform used to build, deploy and scale machine learning models. Users currently have access to more than 100 foundation models — including third-party and open source versions — as well as industry-specific models such as Sec-PaLM 2 for cybersecurity and Med-PaLM 2 for healthcare and life sciences. New additions announced today include:
- Vertex AI Search and Conversation: The tools now enable dev teams to create search and chat applications using their own data, with minimal coding and enterprise-grade management and security built in.
- PaLM 2, Imagen and Codey upgrades: This includes updating PaLM 2 to 32k context windows so enterprises can process longer-form documents, such as research papers and books.
- New models: Google Cloud is announcing the availability of Llama 2 and Code Llama from Meta, and Technology Innovative Institute’s open source Falcon LLM. It also unveiled Claude 2 from Anthropic. Google said it will be the only cloud provider offering both adapter tuning and RLHF for Llama 2.
Simplified Analytics at Scale
New capabilities in Google’s Data and AI Cloud are designed to boost productivity for data teams. Announcements included a new BigQuery Studio interface for data engineering, analytics, and predictive analysis; and AlloyDB AI, which offers an integrated set of capabilities for building GenAI apps, including high-performance and vector queries. Google also announced that several of its new Data Cloud partners, including Confluent, DataRobot, Dataiku, DataStax, Elastic, MongoDB, Neo4j, Redis, SingleStore and Starburst, are all launching new capabilities aimed to enhance gen AI development with data.
Addressing Security Issues
Google Cloud claims to be the only security provider that brings together frontline intelligence and expertise, a modern AI-infused security operations platform and a trusted cloud foundation. At the conference, the company introduced Mandiant Hunt for Chronicle, which integrates the latest insights into attacker behavior from Mandiant’s frontline experts with Chronicle Security Operations’ ability to analyze and search security data.
The company also announced agentless vulnerability scanning, which controls management capabilities in Security Command Center to detect operating system, software and network vulnerabilities on Compute Engine virtual machines.