Google Duet vs Microsoft Copilot: best features for business users

Google Duet and Microsoft Copilot are the tech giants' response to integrating AI into your digital workspace. Which one is the best fit for your small business?

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AI is transforming the way we work. From helping you start a business to modernising your daily tasks and workflows, artificial intelligence is enhancing everything from ideation to productivity.

Leading the business tools AI charge are – unsurprisingly – Google and Microsoft. The two tech giants have integrated AI into their Workspace and Office suites in the form of Google Duet and Microsoft Copilot.

With AI help now baked into the market-leading office tools, business users have powerful new ways of handling day-to-day operations. Although both AI tools are still under development, they have the potential to save businesses endless amounts of time by freeing teams from the shackles of tedious, mundane tasks.

To help you decide which AI tool has the best potential for your business, we’ve put Duet and Copilot under a magnifying glass and analysed the range of AI features each brings to the table.

Duet & Copilot – key features head to head

If you’re looking to streamline your day to day operations, Google Duet and Microsoft Copilot can certainly help.

In a nutshell, both Google Duet and Microsoft Copilot can help you craft an email, crunch a spreadsheet or even write code more accurately. However, based on our in-depth research, at the time of writing we found that Copilot was the more powerful of the two – especially when helping with data analysis – but Duet is intuitively better at helping automate small and tedious tasks.

If you’re trying to choose between the two for your business needs, these differences may be the deciding factor in which suite of tools to go for.

Here’s a breakdown of each.

What is Google Duet and how do you access it?

Google Duet is an AI-powered collaborator that has recently integrated into Google Workspace. This means you can use it on the likes of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail and Google Meet.

Duet can help you write whole documents based on a natural language prompt; help you format sheets ready for data analysis, and even rewrite emails based on the tone you need them to fit.

Beyond the standard Workspace apps, Google Duet is also offering code assistance, chat assistance, and AppSheet. Let’s look at each in turn:

  • Code assistance: with Duet, you can get AI-driven code assistance for cloud users like application developers and data engineers. As you type in real time, you’ll get code recommendations. So, in other words, it’s like the autofill you get on your phone when you’re texting, but a coding edition. Duet can generate full functions or code blocks, identify vulnerabilities in the code, and suggest fixes. Another added plus is that it supports multiple languages including Go, Java, Javascript, Python, and SQL.
  • Chat assistance: in some ways, this is the non-coder friendly version of code assistance. Using simple natural language, users can get guidance on specific development or cloud-related questions. It’s like a chatbot that will help you out with things like learning how to use certain cloud services or implementing plans for your cloud projects.
  • Duet AI for AppSheet: with AppSheet, you can create intelligent business applications, connect your data and build workflows into Google Workspace, using natural language. If you’re not a coder, this could be a very valuable tool as you can easily build apps by describing to Duet what it is you need them to do. This makes app creation accessible to more users.

The downside to all of this is that Google Duet is only presently available to a limited number of users. However, you can access it if you sign up to join Google Cloud’s AI Trusted Tester Program. This way, you can use the tools and provide feedback to improve them before they reach the market.

What is Microsoft Copilot and how do you access it?

Microsoft Copilot combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with the data stored in Microsoft 365 apps to boost productivity for business users. Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways.

Firstly, it’s directly embedded into the Microsoft 365 tools you use everyday – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and others. We’ll dive into more details about how they work in each app individually, but from our research, it’s a really intuitive tool that is positioned to turbocharge your productivity.

Second, Copilot is also part of your Microsoft experience in the form of Business Chat. This works across the LLM, the Microsoft 365 apps, and your data. It’s basically your computer’s help centre, but smarter. This lets you give Copilot natural language prompts like “Tell my team how we updated the product strategy” and it will automatically generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails, and chat threads.

Just like Duet, Copilot is a new service that is currently only available in preview mode and not accessible to the public. However, you can request preview access by filling out a form on the Microsoft 365 Copilot website.

Use of AI in Outlook and Gmail

When pitting Outlook and Gmail against each other, our research found that Copilot in Microsoft’s Outlook is currently the most powerful option.

Google’s Duet does great work here, too – it helps you write emails and optimise them to fit a certain tone or length. It also acts like some sort of ChatGPT for email as it drafts messages based on natural language prompts.

However, Copilot in Outlook arguably takes things further. First, it does all the things above that Duet does, but with the added benefit of integrating information and data it gathers from your 365 apps.

For instance, if you’re following up with a client after a pitching meeting, you can add details to the email via Copilot by asking it to access information from that pitch presentation on PowerPoint.

Gmail for business: Duet features

Duet provides writing assistance in Gmail to help you draft, reply, and proofread emails you wrote yourself. The defining characteristic, however, of Duet in Gmail is the Help Me Write tool.

This shows up as a small pencil with sparkles icon at the bottom right of a new email. All you have to do is give it a natural language prompt with details of the email you want to write. Once you get the output, you can choose the prompt you want:

  • Recreate will prompt Duet to write the email from scratch
  • Refine will prompt Duet to edit the current copy.

You can also ask Duet to Formalise, Elaborate, or Shorten the email, depending on what you need.

Besides Help Me Write, Duet can also do the following on Gmail:
Give contextual responses based on an email chain
Convert meeting notes into an email to send to your clients or teammates

Overall, it’s a strong tool that can help write important emails in a matter of seconds. To use Duet in Gmail, you’ll need to be added to the waitlist for Workspace Labs.

Outlook for Business Copilot features

Copilot in Outlook is at present a slightly more powerful version of what Duet is able to do in Gmail. All those handy functions for composing or improving an email are here – Copilot can shorten or alter the tone of your email in seconds.

But, the real magic with Microsoft comes from how it integrates your 365 data into your emails. This helps your emails be as comprehensive as possible and prevents having to send followup emails with information you forgot to include.

Copilot will search for relevant information from other sources across your Microsoft 365 account, including documents, chats, meeting minutes, and any other relevant document. Based on this, it will then suggest replies or email drafts to send out. You can also ask Copilot for feedback or suggestions.

All you have to do is type ‘What do you think’ into Copilot, and it’ll tell you how you can improve your email.

Use of AI in Excel and Google Sheets

Spreadsheets can have high barriers to entry for those who have less confident data literacy skills. The good news is that Copilot and Duet are changing that with the help of AI.

Once again, based on our analysis, we think that Copilot has more sophisticated features. However, if you’re just looking for some simple bits of automation, Duet is the right fit for you. Here’s what each offers.

Microsoft Excel Copilot features

Copilot is a powerful tool to use in Excel as it helps with things like data visualisation and streamlining processes. The standout feature for us is that you can ask Copilot to identify key data trends in Excel with natural language queries. It can reveal correlations, propose what-if scenarios, and suggest new formulas based on what you’ve asked for.

You can also ask Copilot followup questions in case you want to deepen your analysis. This is great news for those who feel overwhelmed by data analysis.

Copilot is also a great fit for accounting teams as it can streamline financial processes. You can give natural language prompts to get budgeting, forecasting, or financial analysis of your data. This helps your finance teams focus on the bigger picture rather than being tied down by menial tasks.

Besides this, Copilot also helps you identify and correct errors, complete cells based on partial input and explain the calculations based on its projections.

Google Sheets Duet features

Google Duet also uses natural language prompting to help you navigate Sheets. However, its distinctive feature is that it creates custom templates to organise your data.

All you need to do is describe what you want through the sidebar. Duet will create a custom template for you to store and process your data. This is a great option for those who are looking to carry out tasks that involve complex organisation and tracking.

The other cool distinctive feature is that Google’s Bard AI can export the data it creates to Sheets, so you can easily organise and modify it. Duet also comes equipped with powerful classification tools that understand the context of the data in a call, so you can assign it a label rather than having to tediously do it through manual data entry.

Besides this, Duet also identifies and corrects errors, completes cells based on partial input, provides insights and recommendations for data analysis, and suggests formulas and functions based on the context of the cell.

Use of AI in Word and Google Docs

Staring at a blank page, whether that’s on Google Docs or Microsoft Word, feels daunting. With AI, both Duet and Copilot can help you get over that initial writer’s block.

Both tools can help you create copy based on natural language prompts, but each offers its own set of characteristic features that make writing a quick and easy process.

Google Docs Duet features

Google Duet comes equipped with the Help Me Write tool. All you need to do is input a natural language prompt asking Docs what you want it to write, and it’ll create a suggestion.

For instance, you can ask it to create a sales pitch to a new client you want to add to your portfolio. The best part is that it adds ‘smart chips’ for variable information such as location or status, or other things that you’d want to customise, like a company name. You can also edit the suggestion before you prompt Duet to insert it into your document.

The other great part about using Duet in Docs is that you can use the Help Me Write tool in multiple languages.

Google has trained Duet to produce professional-grade writing not just in English, but also in Spanish, French, Japanese and more. Therefore, if you have an international client base, you’ll still be able to automate copy writing and continue to save time.

Microsoft Word Copilot features

On top of matching what Duet is able to do in Docs, Copilot for Word has a powerful edge – it can write documents based on other internal documents stored in your Microsoft 365 suite.

For instance, if you have meeting notes on OneNote that you want to transform into a Word document you can share with stakeholders, Copilot is able to do this for you. Alternatively, imagine you have a business pitch deck on PowerPoint – just ask Copilot, and it can turn this into a Microsoft Word pitch summary.

You can also ask Copilot to account for other internal documents so you can format your current document to look like previous ones.

For instance, say you sent a business proposal to a client a year ago and now you want to contact them with a new business proposal for your most recent product. Copilot takes inspiration from your internal documents to ensure your latest business proposal is consistently following the format you used last time.

Use of AI in PowerPoint and Google Slides

Putting together an aesthetic slideshow or making sure you’re hitting all your main points during a presentation can be a lot easier with the help of AI. Duet and Copilot each offer straightforward, timesaving features on Slides and Powerpoint respectively.

Google Slides Duet features

Duet has turned Google Slides into a strong generative AI. For example, you can ask Duet using natural language prompts to generate images that you can use in your presentation with the Help Me Visualise tool.

You can also ask Duet to generate the image in different styles like illustration, photography, clip art, or flat lay. This gives your Slides a stronger creative muscle in a matter of seconds. It also saves you from having to go on stock imagery sites scrolling for ages before you find the right image.

PowerPoint Copilot features

Copilot, unlike Duet, focuses more on the actual document creation, rather than the illustration part of creating a slides deck.

You can ask Copilot to transform a word document into a PowerPoint presentation. You can later polish the output to make it ready to show to your team or your clients. This feature means you no longer have to sit copying and pasting and simplifying text, saving lots of time.

Additionally, Copilot is also able to generate slides based on the specifications you give it. This is a great solution for those times when you’re bogged down by a creative block.

Use of AI in Google Meet and Microsoft Teams

Besides just helping you save time on your tasks, Duet and Copilot can help enhance your meeting experience with a hybrid team. In this particular case, we found that Copilot has a definitive edge above Google, as its range of collaborative features on Teams is much broader than what Duet currently has to offer.

Google Meet Duet features

Duet’s offering on Google Meet is pretty limited for the time being, though we’d expect this to change rapidly in the months to come.

At present, you’re only able to generate unique backgrounds for video calls based on natural language prompts. Whilst this is definitely a cool flex to have – particularly during those client meetings – it’s more of an aesthetic feature rather than one you can use to boost your productivity.

Microsoft Teams Copilot Features

Microsoft is definitely the more powerful tool when it comes to enhancing your meetings with AI. With natural language prompts, you can ask Copilot to schedule meetings, create tasks, and create meeting agendas based on your previous Teams meetings. It can even draft emails to clients based on your calls.

The other feature that stood out to us is that Copilot helps you find relevant data related to your conversation, all in real time.

Say you’re in a Teams meeting and you’re trying to remember that one specific figure from your latest financial report. All you have to do is ask Copilot and it can retrieve it from your 365 data.

Teams is also capable of creating a summary of your meeting, so you don’t have to worry about frantically writing notes during the call. You can also ask Copilot to summarise where every stakeholder stood on the topic of conversation, so you can easily identify if there are any unresolved issues you need to add to the next meeting’s agendas.

Overall, Copilot comes equipped with a bunch of nifty features that can transform the way you conduct your meetings.

Potential benefits of AI-powered office tools

✔️ Improved productivity: 64% of businesses said that AI would improve business productivity and 42% believe it will streamline job processes. Even in these relatively early days, AI is already freeing employees from the burden of having to deal with time-consuming menial tasks. Integrating AI into your digital workspace can help boost your productivity and reallocate that extra time to focusing on other crucial tasks.

✔️ Save time and money: this comes hand-in-hand with increased productivity. By focusing on other, more important tasks, you (and your employees) can find new ways of growing your business. The UK economy is set to make an extra £400bn thanks to all the benefits that come attached to AI, so the new technology definitely offers a strong sales pitch to businesses.

✔️ Lower barriers of entry to data analysis: navigating Excel or Google Sheets can feel overwhelming for those who are not comfortable with formulas or crunching numbers. With natural language prompts, you can just ask Duet or Copilot to help make sense of the numbers or help you organise them.

✔️ Inbuilt tools: the best part about Duet and Copilot is that you don’t have to invest in yet another subscription or external tool to integrate AI into your digital workspace. It’s all there, set up for you already.

Potential drawbacks of AI-powered office tools

Still in testing stage: these tools can definitely be great, but because they’re still at testing stage, not everyone is guaranteed access at the moment. You can choose to join the waitlist or wait until it gets released to the public.

Might need some training: not everyone will hop onboard AI tools at the same rate of efficiency or speed. Therefore, you might need to spend some time and resources with your team to make sure everyone understands how to use the tools and how they can best integrate them to enhance their workflows.

Data privacy: businesses using Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 ought to have additional data security guarantees in place, but heads of IT and legal will be scrutinising the fine print to ensure that sensitive business data is being treated with case before it’s all automatically crunched in the background by AI tools.

Conclusion

Both Google Duet and Microsoft Copilot are powerful tools that business users can use to boost their productivity and free themselves from distracting menial tasks. Although both are still under development, they definitely are positioned to revolutionise the way we work.

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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