Google’s Writing Assistant

Recently, Google announced a new a new generative AI feature “Help Me Write” for the Gmail and Google Docs that reportedly help to create text or rewrite any existing text. At the time of this writing, these features are only available by logging into the Google Workspace Labs. The companies short YouTube video demonstrates how these features work in practice.

A step-by-step guide on how to utilize the Help Me Write assistant on Gmail and Google Docs is explained in greater detail in drafts emails with AI and Write with AI Google Docs.

In this WIRED article, senior writer Peresh Dave talks about how used the new feature. He writes:

Help Me Write is the first of a slew of generative AI features Google has planned for its productivity suite, under the umbrella branding of Duet AI for Workspace. I spent a few days testing it in Gmail and Google Docs to speed up wedding planning and uncover its boundaries.

Though it can rapidly unspool drafts of polite emails to businesses or fluent essays on mundane topics, what I gained in time I sometimes lost through new headaches. Duet’s writing often came across as stiff, it sometimes snuck in gender stereotypes and inaccurate information, and it wouldn’t expound on subjects I needed it to—like drinking games. “We’re still learning, and can’t help with that. Try another request,” the tool too often responded to me.

Peresh shared his experience with Help Me Write, as follows:

My tests left me worrying that AI writing aids could extinguish originality, to the detriment of humans on the receiving end of AI-crafted text. I envision readers glazing over at stale emails and documents as they might if forced to read Google’s nearly 6,000-word privacy policy. It’s unclear how much individual personality Google’s tools can absorb and whether they will come to assist us or replace us.

Despite their disappointments and limitations, the Duet features in Docs and Gmail seem likely to lure back some users who began to rely on ChatGPT or rival AI writing software. Google is going further than most other options can match, and what we are seeing today is only a preview of what’s to come.

When—or if—Duet matures from promising drafter to unbiased and expert document finisher, usage of it will become unstoppable. Until then, when it comes to writing those heartfelt vows and speeches, that’s a blank screen left entirely to me.

Until this beta testing phase is complete, we will have to wait until the features are available for public use.

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