Generative AI in ‘every single task’ — Google expands Vertex AI, Duet AI capabilities

SAN FRANCISCO – This week, Google announced new capabilities for its Vertex AI platform, as well as the general availability of its Duet AI assistant across its suite of Workspace apps. Vertex AI and Duet AI were both unveiled at Google I/O in May.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian took to the keynote stage at Google Cloud Next ’23 to detail the news, including the general availability of Vertex AI Search and Conversation services, which deliver search and chatbot capabilities to Google’s enterprise users.

“Vertex AI Search is a monitored enterprise search that retrieves information and synthesizes it from document repositories, databases, SaaS applications [and] websites,” said Kurian, adding that Google is also introducing an enterprise grounding service that works across AI models to connect enterprise data to deliver more accurate responses.

Behind the scenes, Vertex AI uses Google’s PaLM 2 large language model (LLM), also introduced in May at the I/O conference and is the second generation of the original PaLM, which launched in April 2022 and was the first iteration of the company’s foundation LLM for generative AI. As part of the platform’s upgrade, PaLM 2 is getting more language support and longer token length — from 4,000 to 32,000 — which means users can process much longer-form documents than before. Additionally, Google’s Codey code generation LLM, a text-to-code model that helps developers with code completion, generation and chat, and its Imagen image generation LLMs are also receiving performance and quality updates.

So that’s Vertex AI; but Google also had news around its other big generative AI tool, or rather, set of tools: Duet AI.

At a press session, Priyanka Vergadia, Google Cloud staff developer relations engineer, explained the relationship between Vertex AI and Duet AI. “With Duet AI, we combined the power of Codey and PaLM and brought it to Google Cloud customers. Consider it to be a use case of generative AI built on top of Vertex for Google Cloud users to make them more productive,” she said.

More specifically, for an additional $30 a month, businesses can use Duet AI to do things like summarize conversation threads in Gmail, create entire slide decks in Slide, generate text in Docs and create custom spreadsheets in Sheets.

“While Vertex AI helps you build with our AI infrastructure and platform, Duet AI helps you use generative AI in every single task,” explained Kurian in his keynote address. “Google search simplified the complexity of the internet for every user. In the same way, Duet AI simplifies the sophistication of generative AI models behind a highly integrated chat experience.”

It’s worth noting that Microsoft has a similar AI offering for its suite of productivity applications called 365 Copilot, which is expected to hit the market at a very similar, if not identical, price point to Duet AI. According to Microsoft, 365 Copilot combines large language models (LLMs) with a business’ data in the Microsoft Graph and the Microsoft 365 apps to “turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet.”

Google doesn’t seem too concerned about such comparisons, though. The company said during this week’s event that Workspace now has 10 million paying customers, up from 9 million in March. Further, it claims that more than a million people have tried the new AI capabilities through a tester program since their introduction.

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