Home Small Business Google’s AI Assistant Can Now Read Your Emails

Google’s AI Assistant Can Now Read Your Emails

Here are five things in tech that happened this week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Google’s

AI assistant can now read your emails, plan trips, and ‘double-check’ answers.

Google Bard – Google’s “conversational AI tool” has received a capability upgrade. It can now “double check” information derived from search queries – a notable change based on inaccuracies that have been reported since Bard’s launch in March. The AI has also been integrated with apps – Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Flights and others. Bard Extensions support a scanning function where the AI can read through emails or documents and source information for a trip itinerary or a presentation. Extensions can be activated or switched off by the user. (Source: ARS Technica)

Why this is important for your business:

This is great, but it’s only a very first step. Google (and Microsoft
) is now using generative AI to look at your data and retrieve responses. It’s also doing better searching for external data. Next up: marrying the two and then, ultimately, using AI to preform actions on that data.

2 – Hackers claim it only took a 10-minute phone call to shut down MGM resorts.

A ransomware group – known as ALPHV/BlackCat – capitalized on a “social engineering” strategy and engaged with an individual on the MGM staff via LinkedIn – as claimed by the group yet to be confirmed. Immediately after, ransom demands were made but were unsuccessful. All told – according to the hackers – the subterfuge took 10 minutes. MGM was also hit with major disruptions to its operations (slot machines and payments systems). ALPHV/BlackCat is known to be very efficient in targeting individuals as a means for extortion (Source: Yahoo News/Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

Malware is getting smarter, thanks to AI and things are only going to get worse. But we have the best defense available right at our disposal: common sense and training. All the tools in the world won’t defend against our employees not having a process to follow based on training that they receive they can recognize potentially harmful conversations, requests and attacks through deepfakes and other social engineering malware. Invest in this training and increase awareness.

3 – iOS 17 is out now – here are the 7 features a tech writer is most looking forward to.

This week, the tech community has been abuzz with high anticipation of Apple’s
iOS 17 update that was released on Monday. Mark Wilson of TechRadar shared the seven features he’s excited about. (Source: TechRadar)

Why this is important for your business:

Among the productivity advances Wilson likes are improved autocorrect. Wilson notes that this very useful update will reduce “tapping time” when drafting text and email messages. He also likes Siri boost – where users can now request info from the AI assistant without having to say “Siri” before each and every command. You can check out the entire list in the link above.

4 – Intuit

introduces QuickBooks Money, a new subscription-free payments and banking solution for small businesses.

Intuit – the company that owns QuickBooks – announced an “all-in-one payments and banking solution” for their client-base. With no monthly fees, this gives small businesses the ability to dispatch invoices while utilizing the same system for their banking needs. By offering this tool QuickBooks reaches a wider client-base – appealing to those who are seeking an online payments system but are not in need of accounting software. FDIC insured, clients have the reassurance that their cash flow is both managed and protected. QuickBooks Checking operates like a standard checking account with added bonus of sending, receiving and tracking payments. David Talach – Senior VP of the QuickBooks Money Platform at Intuit – said, “We believe this is a true front door to the future of small business success.”(Source: Business Wire)

Why this is important for your business:

I have been predicting for years that banks are going to go into the accounting software business. But here’s the reverse: an accounting software company going into the banking business. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

5 – Elon Musk says X will charge users ‘a small monthly payment’ to use its service.

Bots – a source of concern for many on social media – may soon be costing users of X. Elon Musk is a considering a “small monthly payment” for those with an X account. In an interview Musk said that this would be a countermeasure to the “vast armies of bots” on the platform. With over 500 million users, Musk hasn’t offered any specifics as to what this would cost. Currently there’s an X Premium option for $8 bucks a month – however – purportedly, only a fraction of active users are premium members. This won’t be the last we hear of Musk’s ideas to implement a paid subscription model. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

I pay for the premium model. I think users should pay for X. Why? Because it’ll significantly reduce bots and make the platform more reliable and credible and this will only benefit the countless small businesses, freelancers, independents and other entrepreneurs who have communities on X.