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On AI: Here Are 6 Critical Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Google Bard And Duet

By August 1, 2023No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Forbes)

Google launched its official AI offerings earlier this year in order to keep pace with Microsoft and ChatGPT. But it’s common knowledge that the search giant still has a long way to go before their AI applications are really having an impact. So it’s still early days. But rest assured, Google will be a leader in AI and you can expect many new changes in their apps that will have a big effect on your company. If your business is in the Google world, you should start getting ready. Here are six things you should know.

1 — There are actually three Google AI products to consider.

Google Bard is the company’s generative AI product that rivals ChatGPT and is available for you to try, although still officially in beta. You can use it right now in your business to do many of the things that ChatGPT does.

Duet AI for Google Cloud is an early-stage (some features are available now, with more coming) developer tool that’s aimed at both programmers and power users who want an easier way to create apps and AI functionality. If you’re thinking of building custom apps in a Google environment, this tool can already save development time.

Duet AI for Google Workspace is the AI feature set that is targeted at Google’s business and productivity applications like Docs, Sheets and Gmail and is available for pre-order only for enterprise customers with a general release planned for year end.

Both of the Duet offerings will be leveraging Bard’s language model and other functionality.

2 — Gmail already has AI.

If your company is using Gmail, you’ve already got AI because Google’s been adding these features behind the scenes for the past few years. For example, when you reply to an email, you’ve probably noticed that Gmail is automatically creating suggestions. Or you can also use the “Help Me Write” option to suggest responses. This will become significantly more intelligent over the coming years as Bard/Duet looks at what you’re writing, who you’re writing to and what data you may need from other sources and bringing that information in to help you create better emails. My suggestion is to start familiarizing yourself with these features.

3 — AI in Docs, Sheets and Slides will rival Microsoft

I wrote previously about the upcoming functionality that will be offered by Microsoft’s AI tool called Copilot and, rest assured, Google is going to keep pace. Duet features in Docs will very soon suggest better ways to write memos and quotations and create templates. The same goes for Sheets where Bard will also create templates, analyze existing spreadsheet data, suggest formulas and offer insights into your data. Slides will be able to create images like “show a dog swimming in a river” just by typing your command. Will Workspace be a better solution for your business than Office or Teams with all these new AI features? Given what I’ve seen so far, and Microsoft’s dominance in the business application market, I’m still betting that the software giant will keep an edge with Copilot over Duet. But time will tell.

4 — Bard is already leveraging Google search.

One big advantage Google has over Microsoft right now is that Microsoft’s conversational AI capabilities are using ChatGPT, which is trained on data from late 2021. Google Bard is leveraging its powerful search algorithms and current data to (hopefully) provide more up to date and accurate information. When it comes to accessing external data, Bard- thanks to Google superior search technology — is going to provide better results. This could be a game changer when the time comes to marry your internal information with external data.

5 — Future plans will require you to have good data.

While Bard and Duet can be relied on to access the best available external data to help your business, you’re going to have make sure your company data is up to par. That’s because these AI products are going to be leveraging your internal information in the future to help you send emails, analyze customers and create forecasts, financial models and better understand where the profits are. If you want to fully take advantage of these AI tools you’ll need to make sure your internal data is complete and accurate and I’ve offered some advice to accomplish this here.

6 — Google Bard and Duet are assisting you and your employees, not replacing (all of) them.

Google Bard/Duet is an assistant. It is a taskmaster. It will do research and make suggestions, recommendations and offer insights. It will ultimately perform manual tasks automatically. In the future, you will be able to give Duet a command to perform tasks like “find all customers that bought this product and send them an email recommending an accompanying product” or “when inventory of this item falls below this price level email the vendor and negotiate a price between two and four dollars and when agreed send a purchase order.”

It will enable your existing accounting, marketing, sales and operations staff to do more during the day which means you’ll be able to get away with hiring less people and avoid incurring more overhead. But it will never be perfect and, just like the best assistants, it will always need human supervision.

The smartest business owners I know aren’t afraid of AI like Duet and Bard. They’re embracing it. So should you.

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