Google will bring generative AI to Gmail. It's trying to stem the threat of the Microsoft-OpenAI alliance.

Google will bring generative AI to Gmail. It's trying to stem the threat of the Microsoft-OpenAI alliance.
Gmail will get some AI functionality, Google parent company Alphabet said Thursday.Igor Golovniov/Getty Images
  • Google announced plans to add more AI features and improvements to its products.
  • It's been developing AI models for years and has used AI in products, including search.

Google– which, in its earnings call, bragged that it's the company responsible for today's generative AI craze – laid out plans to integrate more of the technology into a majority of its products, including Gmail.

Google faces some threat to its standing as the No. 1 search engine after Microsoft – which runs the extremely distant second place Bing — will incorporate ChatGPT. Microsoft is an investor in ChatGPT parent OpenAI.

To be clear, Google has been using and doing research on AI for several years, even before ChatGPT was a twinkle in the eye of its developers. But the rise of ChatGPT — built by former Googlers — pushed the search giant into a corner.

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It needs to prove it will bring its powerful AI models, like the large language model LaMDA, to its products and make the models more open for developers to use. Large language models power ChatGPT.

And so Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced AI will be coming to Gmail and Docs. Pichai held off on explaining exactly what generative AI in emails would look like. But in broad strokes, he said the plan is to make AI capabilities available "in design and more."


Google will release new tools and APIs for developers and users to experiment with its AI models. Unlike some Big Tech AI models, ChatGPT went insanely viral because it was so easy to use and available even to non-programmers. LaMDA, Pichai said, will be made available "in the coming weeks and months" so others can interact with it and provide feedback.

The company also announced plans to offer more AI products for businesses and organizations, though Pichai did not specify which kinds.

Pichai emphasized the role AI plays in Google's past, present, and future. He said AI is the most profound thing the company is working on.

"Translating these kinds of technical leaps into products that help billions of people is what our company has always strived on," Pichai said. "We'll pursue this work boldly but with a deep sense of responsibility."

Pichai pointed to using AI to improve Google Search and said people should expect further upgrades fueled by AI. These new features on search will also allow people to interact with the company's large language models "in experimental and innovative ways."


But adding generative AI to your email client is not the endpoint for Google. Instead, the company wants to use AI to cut its costs.

Coming at the heels of laying off 12,000 employees, Google and Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said the company plans to improve the efficiency of its tech infrastructure using AI, a move that usually means a company wants to automate more of its workflow.

Google will release more details about its plans to bring more AI to its popular products, but for now, you can wait a bit longer before sending that AI-written email.