Google previewed a Google Meet feature called "Attend for me" that could turn out to be a killer app for those of us slammed with meetings and begging for a digital stand-in. The feature could also entice enterprises to consider Google Meet and Workspace vs. the likes of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco's WebEx and a bevy of other collaboration apps.

Attend for me is a feature that leverages the combination of Duet AI and Google Workspace to send a digital representative to a meeting. Your digital version will attend the meeting, take notes and give you a recap with video snippets all via generative AI. Simply put, Google Workspace will attend a meeting, so you don't have to.

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Outlined at Google Cloud Next in San Francisco, Attend for me was part of a Google Workspace breakout. Google Workspace, which 3 billion active users and 10 million paying subscribers, will give customers a bevy of AI-first productivity tools via Duet AI including:

  • A new Duet AI add on available Sept. 29. Customers can sign up for the Duet AI add-on for a no-cost trial to use generative AI across Workspace. Google Cloud didn't disclose what this Duet AI add-on would cost, but it's a safe bet that it's in the ballpark of $30 per user per month--the going rate for generative AI add-ons.
  • Duet AI side panel, a generative AI sidekick across Workspace apps to help you write, organize, visualize and connect.
  • Google Meet features Studio, which will transform low quality images into studio worth images and improve audio, video and lighting, real-time teleprompting and automatic translated captions.
  • Duet AI in Google Chat, which will give you proactive suggestions and UI shortcuts across Workspace.
  • Classification and labeling in Drive to prevent data loss and roll out data sovereignty and client-side encryption controls.

Kristina Behr, Vice President of Product Management at Google Workspace, said the Duet AI integration is about giving customers "a coach and a source of information across Workspace."

Behr acknowledged that Google Meet wasn't quite ready for the big pandemic rush to remote work, but has closed feature gaps such as attendance tracking, breakout rooms, full HD, noise cancellation and insights for Meet usage.

Closing feature gaps is one thing but Attend for me could be a reason to consider Google Meet. A demo during the Google Cloud Next keynote highlighted how Duet AI can create presentations and creative briefs on the fly based on documents in Google Drive.

Details beyond the demo are scarce about Attend for me as a feature. Google executives haven't taken the feature for a spin internally at scale. However, it's clear that Attend for me can fill a need. After all, Attend for me is a lot cheaper than cloning yourself to attend stacked meetings day after day.

Attend for me is also likely to spur corporate culture conversations. Here are thoughts on how Attend for me will play out.

  • Employees who are burdened with too many meetings will likely flock to a feature like Attend for me (and Google Workspace by extension). Attend for me goes beyond generative AI-powered note taking and summarization and gets you out of meetings.
  • Enterprise administrators will have to determine whether to enable Attend for me functionality. Why wouldn't companies go for it? Manager backlash. It's clear that you'll show up in person for a C-suite meeting or team leadership catchup. But what about all those meetings that middle managers form?
  • There will be a pecking order that could cause some corporate strife. What happens when someone calls a meeting of 10 people and 9 of them opt for Attend for me?
  • Attend for me could be a novel feature that becomes the norm quickly. For instance, Zoom is using generative AI to provide real-time summaries of what had been discussed in a meeting. That’s not too far from sending a digital representative. Zoom sees enterprise traction, cites Contact Center, Team Chat wins

The presence of Attend for me as a feature may force people to think through whether a meeting is really required. That outcome alone may be enough return on investment to justify adding Duet AI. You'd pay $30 a month for less meetings, wouldn't you?