AI chatbots like ChatGPT are fun on their own, but their biggest benefits emerge when you plug them into existing programs – as shown by a promising new Google Slides plug-in.
A new Google Workspace app called MagicSlides (opens in new tab) combines OpenAI’s GPT tech with Google’s presentations app to give us a glimpse of how much easier it’ll soon be to build a deck of slides. To get started you just need one of OpenAI’s API keys, which you can generate in your account by going to ‘View API keys’.
Once installed, the extension adds a sidebar to Google Slides that lets you type in the topic you’re presenting, followed by the total number of slides you’re aiming for. You can also type in extra info that you’d like it to pull in, alongside the overall tone you want (for example, professional or funny).
Hit generate and the extension will create a pretty decent draft presentation for you to edit and work with. It isn’t perfect – the tool doesn’t yet design the slides for you or pull in any of the many third-party Google Slides themes that are available.
But those features are apparently en route and it does give us a hint of what’s to come pretty soon. Google Bard, which is the search giant’s equivalent of ChatGPT, hasn’t yet been baked into Google Search, but it’ll arrive “in the coming weeks”.
And like the many ways ChatGPT could transform Microsoft Office, some of those talents will inevitably filter into Google Workspace apps like Google Sheets, Sheets, and Docs. Given how useful this third-party extension already looks, we can’t wait.
Analysis: A glimpse of AI’s time-saving skills
Talking to AI chatbots like the ChatGPT-powered Bing is fascinating and fun, but their biggest influence is arguably going to be within specialist tools that we already use –like presentation tools and spreadsheet programs.
In their current form, neither ChatGPT nor Google Bard will be able to reliably make complete Google Sheets presentations for us. But as this Sheets extension shows, they can already rustle up solid first drafts for us to work with – and that’s an exciting glimpse of their time-saving potential.
This is why both Microsoft and Adobe have referred to AI tools as creative ‘co-pilots’. Neither see the tools as replacements for human creativity or productivity – and recent issues with the new Bing have shown that the tech is far from polished enough to be truly relied on for serious work.
But the likes of ChatGPT are developing faster than expected. And in the meantime, their ability to speed up the creation process in the likes of Google Slides and Microsoft Excel could see those programs make their biggest usability leaps in years.