Google's new AI video generator is more HR than Hollywood

For most of us, creating documents, spreadsheets and slide decks is an inescapable part of work life in 2024. What’s not is creating videos. That’s something Google would like to change. On Tuesday, the company announced Google Vids, a video creation app for work that the company says can make everyone a “great storyteller” using the power of AI.

Vids uses Gemini, Google’s latest AI model, to quickly create videos for the workplace. Type in a prompt, feed in some documents, pictures, and videos, and sit back and relax as Vids generates an entire storyboard, script, music and voiceover. “As a storytelling medium, video has become ubiquitous for its immediacy and ability to ‘cut through the noise,’ but it can be daunting to know where to start,” said Aparna Pappu, a Google vice president, in a blog post announcing the app. “Vids is your video, writing, production and editing assistant, all in one.”

In a promotional video, Google uses Vids to create a video recapping moments from its Cloud Next conference in Las Vegas, an annual event during which it showed off the app. Based on a simple prompt telling it to create a recap video and attaching a document full of information about the event, Vids generates a narrative outline that can be edited. It then lets the user select a template for the video — you can choose between research proposal, new employee intro, team milestone, quarterly business update, and many more — and then crunches for a few moments before spitting out a first draft of a video, complete with a storyboard, stock media, music, transitions, and animation. It even generates a script and a voiceover, although you can also record your own. And you can manually choose photos from Google Drive or Google Photos to drop them seamlessly into the video.

It all looks pretty slick, but it’s important to remember what Vids is not: a replacement for AI-powered video generation tools like OpenAI’s upcoming Sora or Runway’s Gen-2 that create videos from scratch from text prompts. Instead. Google Vids uses AI to understand your prompt, generate a script and a voiceover, and stitch together stock images, videos, music, transitions, and animations to create what is, effectively, a souped up slide deck. And because Vids is a part of Google Workspace, you can collaborate in real time just like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Who asked for this? My guess is HR departments and chiefs of staff, who frequently need to create onboarding videos for new employees, announce company milestones, or create training materials for teams. But if and when Google chooses to make Vids available beyond Workspace, which is typically used by businesses, I can also see people using this beyond work like easily creating videos for a birthday party or a vacation using their own photos and videos whenever it becomes available more broadly

Vids will be available in June and is first coming to Workspace Labs, which means you’ll need to opt in to test it. It’s not clear yet when it will be available more broadly.

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