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On February 21, Google announced its new generative AI solution for productivity, Gemini for Google Workspace. Previously launched for enterprises as Duet AI for Workspace Enterprise, Gemini for Google Workspace Enterprise keeps the same pricing, at $30/user/month for unlimited usage. Google added a cheaper SKU, too — Gemini for Google Workspace Business, at $20/user/month for up to 1,000 actions/user/month. This represents something of a stealth price drop, insofar as large enterprises can opt for this Business SKU if they wish.

There will be ample media articles, YouTube and TikTok videos, and professional software testers evaluating each feature of Gemini for Google Workspace in detail. But here’s what you need to know up front.

You’re Not Switching To Google Workspace To Use Gemini — Yet

We speak with scores of companies about generative AI (genAI) in productivity and collaboration, but the vast majority of those conversations center on Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, as Microsoft enjoys far higher market share than Google on productivity and collaboration tools (via Microsoft 365 and legacy Office applications) and on other tech stack components (from security to cloud). It’s the big dog in this space, and Gemini won’t change that in the short term. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Gemini’s value proposition mirrors that of Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365. While the details and features vary, Google and Microsoft offer similar genAI assistants: They’re integrated directly into your productivity and collaboration software, they help you get things done faster, and they free you up to do more important work. Copilot is robust, if flawed; we talk to organizations every week pointing out its errors, bugs, and hallucinations. Yet that’s simply part of the new world we’re in: GenAI injects both magic and mayhem into the future of work. You can’t have one without the other. If you’re a Microsoft shop, you’ll work to build a business case for adopting Copilot among some portion of your employee base and then pilot, test, and iterate from there. But there’s nothing in Gemini for Google Workspace that would induce you to move to the Google platform today.
  • If you’re already a Google shop, Gemini could be your sanctioned genAI tool. The main driver for adopting Gemini for Google Workspace is the same as adopting Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365: First, you seek to turbocharge productivity (we have a report coming out on genAI productivity in a few weeks); second, your employees are clamoring for genAI tools. If you don’t give them something sanctioned, they’ll use bring-your-own AI tools such as ChatGPT on the web, opening your organization up to security and privacy risks and rendering their activities unmonitored by your IT team. If you’re already a Google shop, Gemini might be your best bet for a genAI solution that offers a chance at improved productivity with company-sanctioned and -managed tools.

Gemini And Copilot Won’t Stand Still

Keep in mind that both Microsoft and Google employ fast release cycles on these highly strategic new products. For starters, there’s plenty of troubleshooting needed to make these genAI assistants actually live up to their promise. But innovations lie in the near future, too:

  • Microsoft will probably bring Sora to Copilot. At least one unofficial indication suggests as much. If you’ve not seen Sora, it’s OpenAI’s new text-to-video generation solution, and it’s creating massive interest due to its hyper-realistic renderings, which are nevertheless (and predictably) still prone to eerie hallucinations. We can imagine Sora populating our PowerPoint presentations with customized animations or short Vine-style videos. But they’ll be hyper-personalized to our brand, our preferred theme, and our presentation style.
  • Google will introduce multimodal inputs and outputs. In December 2023, Google wowed with its multimodal Gemini Ultra video, which appeared to be a demo. (Multimodal mixes visual recognition and production with text, video, images, or music as part of its genAI experience.) Unfortunately, the video was not a demo and was faked, an unwise move that added hype to a market where none is necessary. But Google’s got a strong commitment to multimodal, and we expect to see it in Gemini for Google Workspace.

What We’ll Be Watching For In Gemini For Google Workspace

Most of our clients that have jumped into this space are using Microsoft Copilot. But we’ll be keeping a close eye on future Google Gemini developments related to Workspace. There are signals that we’ll be on the lookout for:

  • Workspace market size growth. If Workspace itself captures share from Microsoft 365, Gemini will become more relevant to the conversation around which platform to choose. Scale means relevance.
  • Vertical and niche growth. We’ll be looking at specific industries and usage niches, whose successes and fans can sometimes propel underdogs to higher market positions.
  • Educational SKUs. Google’s strong position in K–12 education, as well as with some college and university users, means that the inevitable educational Gemini SKUs will be worth tracking.
  • Pressure from Google-native Gen Alphas, Gen Zers, and Millennials. Numerous workers from these generations literally grew up as (or are growing up as) Google users. As they become larger proportions of the workforce, their preferences could open longer-term opportunities for Google Workspace and Gemini.

J. P. Gownder is a vice president and principal analyst on Forrester’s Future of Work team. Clients can request a guidance session with him to discuss productivity, including the rise of generative AI at work (for example, Microsoft Copilot).