Which Google AI features would you pay for?

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At this stage, Google’s Generative AI features are free because they’re in beta and because we’re at the stage where all of these companies want people to use their products over their competitors.

Looking beyond that, I’m sure some of the features we have today will end up paying for it, if only because AI is computationally expensive to run.

In terms of what will be free, I think Search Generative Experience (SGE) is the obvious candidate, as paid search engines aren’t viable and ads can subsidize the cost.

I think it will be the same for Bard or whatever its final state, although there is the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlevels of functionality, as seen with ChatGPT.

[Tangent: Bard is officially referred to as an AI experiment by Google. That made a great deal of sense at launch, but Im starting to wonder if it will be sticking around. I can very clearly see Google giving Bard a new name maybe its rolled into Assistant, which gets a web presence in the process but the underpinnings of whats being built out, especially third-party integrations, seem too specific and product-like to just be thrown out.]

With Magic Eraser already available as a paid feature on non-Pixel devices, Magic Editor going the same route is very obvious. Then there’s Magic Compose in Google Messages. After using it for about a week, I think it’s fun but not critical. The same could be said of the upcoming next-generation AI wallpapers on Pixel phones. The justification for both could be that it supports the underlying product Magic Compose improves RCS, just like AI wallpapers improve Pixel devices.

Moving to Workspace, I think mass market features like “Help me write” in Gmail and Docs should be competitively free. However, tiering could be applied here making the Sidekick panel a premium feature. Other generative AI features, such as table creation and data organization in Sheets, and image generation in Slides and Meet (for backgrounds), may be blocked due to their more advanced nature.

Whatever the breakdown, putting the more premium features behind Google One makes the most sense. If it’s bundled with Google One and extra storage, a very simple and obvious proposition, it just becomes a plus. Outside of Workspace, I don’t think Google will have much luck bundling AI features as its own subscription or per-app unlock.

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