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Google Apps gets an injection of artificial intelligence, with more to come

Springboard searches the contents of your Google Drive, and Google Sites gets a revamp.


Google today hinted at a near future where its artificial intelligence capabilities underpin its collection of cloud-based applications aimed at the workplace, Google Apps.

At an event in Tokyo, the Internet giant announced a new application and a revamp of another, with some AI smarts injected into both.

The new product is called Springboard, and it's intended to let Google Apps customers search through the content of the documents they store in their Google Drive, along with their contacts and calendar entries, all in one place. It will also use AI, Google says, to proactively find information that may be relevant to what you're working on.

Google Springboard on a phone

Google also says it has rebuilt Google Sites, its lightweight tool for creating websites and intranet sites for use by work teams. It, too, is getting a dash of Google’s AI juice, which, says Ryan Tabone, director of product for Google Apps, will make a lot of the tricky things about web publishing easier.

“It takes a lot of the hassle out of getting pictures and text just right, so you don’t have to spend time figuring them out yourself,” Tabone said. It can also quickly adapt a page for reading on mobile devices.

It’s a relatively humble start, but the hope is to enhance the entire suite of Google's office apps with AI, though Tabone preferred the phrase “machine intelligence."

And while it’s pretty far from Google’s more spectacular deployment of AI technology in its Google Home smart speaker for consumers, it is a hint of things to come, Tabone said.

“What we find is that people tend to perform the same tasks over and over,” he said. “And that’s something that’s in the machine-learning wheelhouse.”

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