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Gmail will help you write your emails now: How to access Google's new AI tool

The feature was originally announced in May and just went live for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer

As part of a set of new AI features, Sundar Pichar announced Help Me Write in May during Google I/O.


Artificial intelligence is making its way into tools we use every day, and it's now up to us whether we choose to use it to our benefit. As external generative AI tools like ChatGPT become popular for writing essays, letters, and resumes, Google is making accessing generative AI even easier by integrating the technology into the largest email service provider: Gmail.

Originally announced by the company's CEO, Sundar Pichar, during Google I/O in May, Help Me Write is a feature that leverages generative AI to create emails from a prompt within the new message window. 

Also: How to optimize your Gmail inbox layout

This means you don't have to go to a separate app or log into a separate website, enter a prompt, copy the response, then paste it back into your new message. Gmail will now do it all for you. 

How to use Help Me Write for Gmail

1. Sign up for Google Workspace Labs

Google's Help Me Write is now available in Gmail for Android and iOS for enrolled testers in the Workspace Labs program.

Also: 5 ways to explore the use of generative AI at work

To sign up, go to Labs.WithGoogle.com and click on Join Waitlist under Google Workspace. You'll be taken to a page where you can log in using your Gmail account. If there's no waitlist (and there wasn't for me), you'll be able to jump right into using Gmail's Help Me Write on your mobile app.

If you've already signed up for Workspace Labs, log into Gmail with the email associated with that account.

Google Workspace Labs

Click on Join Waitlist under the Workspace section.

Screenshot: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

2. Open a new message in the Gmail app

As Help Me Write is now available for Gmail mobile users in Android and iOS, you have to open your mobile app and start a new message. 

3. Tap on Help Me Write

There should be a button at the bottom right of the screen that says 'Help Me Write'. Tap on it to open the generative AI tool that will generate your email. 

Google Workspace Labs on iPhone
Screenshot: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

4. Enter your prompt

At this point, enter the prompt for what you want your email to convey. It doesn't have to be a long paragraph but it does need to contain any pertinent information that should be included in the email. If you have a date, dollar amount, names, address, a company name --  it's a good idea to include this information for the AI bot. 

Also: How to write better AI prompts

Here are some prompt examples to give to Google's Help Me Write Gmail assistant:

  • An invitation for a dinosaur-themed 6th birthday party
  • A complaint to a dock manager about freight backlog
  • Request help from customer service answering how you can access your locked account
  • Request to return an item you purchased
Help me write prompt

I'm an Outlook gal myself, but it works.

Screenshot: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

5. Give feedback and/or regenerate (optional)

You can provide feedback on whether the generated response met your needs or not by giving it a thumbs up or down. If you're not happy with the response, you can also regenerate it by tapping on the circular arrow on the screen. 

Otherwise, you can move on to the next step.

Give feedback and/or regenerate (optional)
Screenshot: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

6. Check your draft email and send

Gmail will create an email for you that you can format to make it more formal or informal, more elaborate or shorter, or add and rewrite anything you want. 

Once you're done editing your email and are ready to send, make sure you have a destination email address in the 'To' field and a subject line, as Help Me Write won't populate the subject. 

Format and edit email
Screenshot: Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Once you're done with your edits, you can press send.


Is there a waitlist to try Gmail AI?

If you'd like to test out the Help Me Write feature in Gmail, you'll need to sign up for Google's Workspace Labs, which will give you early access to testing new features for generative AI experiments.  

Though the site says there is a waitlist, I was given immediate access to Workspace Labs when I signed up, so it's worth giving it a shot. The waiting period may go up as more users sign up to test the new Help Me Write features.

Eventually, the feature is expected to roll out to all Gmail users. 

Can you use Help Me Write on desktop?

The Help Me Write feature became available for Workspace Labs testers on the Gmail mobile app for iOS and Android but it is also available for desktop users. If you access Gmail on any computer, you can also access Help Me Write as a Workspace Labs user when you start a new email. 

Where is the Gmail Help Me Write button?

The Gmail Help Me Write button is found when you start to compose a new email; it can be found at the bottom right corner of the screen.

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