Splitit Redefining Retail May 2024 Banner

Google’s New Workplace AI Bot Underscores Big Tech’s Enterprise Focus

Every business and organization is thinking about how to tap digital transformation for growth.

And with Google’s I/O developer conference Tuesday (May 14), the enterprise solutions that big tech can bring to the business-to-business (B2B) space are top of mind for forward-thinking firms. 

Already, OpenAI held an event of its own on Monday (May 13), where the artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer announced its new GPT-4o model, and observers are keen to compare how Google’s own AI announcements stack up against those of its chief competitors like OpenAI’s GPT and Microsoft Copilot. 

That’s because AI solutions are being infused across business processes and software as big tech turns toward the B2B space as its next addressable market. 

Google announced at the conference that it is embedding Gemini 1.5 Pro within the sidebar in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive and Gmail so that firms and workers will have immediate access to the virtual AI assistant. The new sidebar is available in beta, and will roll out to paid Gemini subscribers next month. 

The company also debuted an “AI Teammate” prototype designed to be an agentic AI system built for workplace use cases. 

Read moreGoogle’s AI Updates for Enterprises Point to Big Tech’s Ambitions for B2B

Impact of AI for B2B Applications

Tech companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are so valuable because they have built extensive platform ecosystems that encompass various services and products. Expanding these ecosystems to include B2B offerings has allowed them to capture more value from existing customers and attract new ones.

And with digital interfaces at the center of many enterprise workflows, the add-on impact of AI solutions can’t be overstated. 

“Computers can now behave like humans. They can articulate, they can write and can communicate just like a human can,” Beerud Sheth, CEO at conversational AI platform Gupshup, told PYMNTS. “No one ever thought a bulldozer could behave like a human, or fire, or any of the prior inventions throughout history. AI has animated society in a way that no other technology has before.”

As Tuesday’s Google I/O event showed, Google’s ambition with its AI products is not just to streamline tasks, but to transform them into more intelligent, automated processes — something that holds true for enterprise use cases, too. 

Google isn’t alone in its enterprise AI strategy. As covered here, Amazon has launched its own enterprise-focused AI platform, Amazon Q, that boasts corporate partners including Accenture, BMW Group, Gilead, Mission Cloud, Orbit Irrigation and Wunderkind; while Microsoft earlier announced the launch of two new, AI-optimized devices designed exclusively for business users: the Surface Pro 10 for Business and the Surface Laptop 6 for Business.

Read alsoGoogle’s Restructuring Shows AI’s Impact on Finance Function

Meta, for its part, is planning to sunset its own enterprise app, Workplace, according to a Tuesday report.

On Monday Google announced that it was bringing Project Starline, a futuristic videoconferencing technology that creates unique, lifelike interactions, “out of the lab” and into the commercial landscape.

“After thousands of hours of testing across Google offices and with enterprise partners, we found that meetings in Starline feel more like being in the same room instead of traditional video calls. This leads to better attentiveness, memory recall and an overall sense of presence. In Starline, people act like they’re in-person, not thousands of miles apart,” said Andrew Nartker, general manager, Project Starline in a release.  

Google is partnering with HP for commercialization of the “magic window” enterprise video chat experience and plans to start integrating the AI-powered 3D imaging solution within videoconferencing services like Google Meet and Zoom by 2025, with a focus on connecting distributed teams and individuals in the workplace.

Read also: Tailoring AI Solutions by Industry Key to Scalability

PYMNTS Intelligence data revealed that 7 in 10 consumers believe AI can already replace at least some of their professional skill sets. Young consumers, those earning over $100,000 and those working in an office environment are most aware of this skill overlap.

But as Eddie Zhou, head of AI at Glean, emphasized to PYMNTS, understanding the value proposition of investing in enterprise AI before deployment is a crucial — and often overlooked — step. 

“A lack of clarity around what firms want to solve for can slow down integration. Yes, AI can help, but what do you want it to do? It’s a moving target. … We’re just starting to uncover where real value is added,” Zhou explained. 

For further reading, the PYMNTS Intelligence “Generative AI Tracker®,” a collaboration with AI-ID, sorts the myths from the realities of AI and explains how businesses can best leverage the technology to capture the greatest impact. 

For all PYMNTS AI coverage, subscribe to the daily AI Newsletter.