May 31, 2024

Gemini for Google Workspace: What You Need to Know

hero image for blog post

During Google’s I/O conference in mid-May, they announced updates to their Gemini models –  including new integrations into Google Workspace.

Since we use Google Workspace at Section, we obviously wanted to give Gemini for Google Workspace a whirl. But it was not immediately obvious which option (Enterprise vs. Business) we should go for – or what the features even do.

Based on our deep dive, we created this handy guide to help you determine if Gemini for Google Workspace is worth it for your business.

What is Gemini for Google Workspace?

Gemini is an AI-powered assistant integrated into Google Workspace applications like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Meet. Here’s a quick TL;DR about Gemini’s capabilities:

  • Content creation when drafting emails, creating project plans, and designing presentations.
  • Data organization in Google Sheets by creating tables and predicting values for incomplete data.
  • Meeting enhancements like caption translations in multiple languages, note-taking, and AI-powered meeting summaries.
  • Chat with Google’s most capable models, designed for highly complex tasks, through a dedicated conversational interface.

They also provide enterprise-grade protections for data privacy and security, and interactions with Gemini are not used to train AI models or reviewed by humans.

Pricing and features breakdown

Here are the pricing and features for each plan:

A table showing the pricing plans for Gemini Business and Gemini Enterprise based on yearly and monthly contracts, plus the features that come with each.

The difference in price between Business and Enterprise is nominal but could quickly add up for larger organizations. However, Gemini is considered a “feature add-on,” so it is possible to assign licenses per user to control costs.

How the “Help Me…” feature works

Once you’ve bought into Gemini for Google Workspace, it will offer to help you enhance everyday tasks – from writing, generating images, organizing, and connecting – when using any of their tools. (If that sounds like Clippy, you’re not totally wrong).

For example, “Help Me Write” is an option available in Google Docs and Gmail. Gemini will work alongside you to provide real-time assistance to refine your writing.

  • In Google Docs, Gemini can generate blog posts, project plans, and briefs. Its proofreading capabilities and editing features check for grammar, spelling, and style.
  • In Gmail, Gemini can draft emails for outreach, responses, or help refine drafts to be more clear and concise. A big win here is that it also works in the Gmail mobile app.
A gif of Google's Gemini for Google Workspace help me write feature

Help Me Design is available in Slides, but is quite limited at the moment and really only helps you create images. Much like other image generation tools, you just enter a prompt that describes the image you want to create and it appears for use in a slide.

A gif of Google's Gemini for Google Workspace help me design feature

Help Me Organize is Gemini’s Google Sheets feature that organizes and processes data in 2 ways:

  1. Organize projects, events, and more with templates for task trackers and agendas. A simple prompt – like “create a wedding planning checklist” – can get you a custom table with placeholder data directly in the sheet.
  2. Gemini can automatically detect incomplete column pairs and predict remaining values. It can also finish filling out a categorization column based on existing data.

Unfortunately, this feature is currently only available in Google Workspace Labs (an invite-only program for users to test new AI features), which is disappointing. This would probably be the most immediately useful integration for us at Section. These features also only work on new, clean Sheets – meaning you can’t apply Gemini to your existing sheets full of data.

A gif of Google's Gemini for Google Workspace help me organize feature

Help Me Connect is Google Meet’s Gemini upgrade, which offers new features to enhance virtual interactions. With Gemini enabled, Google Meet can:

  • Create custom backgrounds
  • Use “studio look”, which automatically fixes low lighting and poor webcam quality
  • Use “studio lighting”, which simulates professional lighting in your video
  • Use “studio sound”, which restores “original voice” by recreating and balancing missing or distorted audio
  • Use translated captions (available only with Gemini Enterprise)
A gif showing how the the help me connect features work

A mixed bag of gems and disappointments

Gemini’s ability to generate human-like content is impressive. Plus, the seamless integration with the Google Suite – which many people use pretty exclusively for work – is a major convenience advantage. However, some of these integrations are a bit lackluster:

👍 Help me write is the most immediately applicable of the bunch, which is unsurprising considering content generation is most people’s low-fi experience with AI

👎 Help me design is limited to image generation, which isn’t that helpful if you’re looking to design a full deck

👎 Help me organize has huge potential, but keeping it in beta feels like an unnecessary delay

👎 Help me connect’s translation capabilities show promise, but the the audio and video features feel a bit gimmicky to us

In the end, we tested both options and picked Business because we don’t use Google Meet enough to warrant the extra cost of Enterprise.

Our recommendation for you: You’re safe to hold off on Gemini for Google Workspace – but not to write it off. Gemini for Google Workspace is not a complete solution just yet, but given Google's track record of continuous improvement, it's reasonable to expect that better versions of these integrations are on the horizon.

Greg Shove
Chase Ballard