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Google brings 'intelligent search' to business users

"Springboard" helps employees search through docs, contacts, Gmail and more.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
June 14, 2016
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Google's new Springboard search may be aimed at companies, but it's just the kind of AI-powered tech that can trickle down to consumers. The search giant describes it as a sort of digital assistant that helps employees search through piles of documents in Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, Contacts and other apps. Much like Google Now, it also "assists you throughout your workday by proactively providing useful and actionable information and recommendations," according to the company.

The company already uses machine learning in Search and other products like Translate -- and the VP of search John Giannandrea is, in fact, a leading AI researcher. Just recently, for instance, the company launched Assistant, a version of Google Now that you can actually converse with. This is the first time we've seen intelligent search working across so many apps, however. For employees drowning in files, it should help them sort out their stuff -- as Google App VP Prabhakar Raghavan puts it, "today the average knowledge worker spends the equivalent of one full day a week searching for and gathering information."

Google also rebuilt Sites, an app that lets corporate users share internal documents like newsletters or account reports. It now behaves like Docs and other Google apps, in that you can use drag-and-drop editing, real-time collaboration and other teamwork tools. In addition, any Site you create now displays properly to users whether they're on a smartphone, smart TV or laptop.

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