Markdown is a “lightweight markup language for applying formatting using plain text.” Google Docs already recognizes some Markdown syntax, and is now expanding its support.
In addition to * or – for bullet points, numbered lists, and  for checkboxes, expanded Markdown support in Google Docs on the web (no mention of the mobile apps) now allows for:
- Italic and bold
- Bold + italic
On the web, Tools > Preferences features a new “Automatically detect Markdown” setting to “enable auto correcting”/conversions to the syntax. It’s an alternative to using the Google Docs toolbar and learning other service-specific shortcuts as Markdown knowledge can be applied in other applications..
This expanded Markdown support starts rolling out today and should be fully live for the Google Docs web client (docs.google.com) over the next two weeks or so.
Available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customer Available to users with personal Google Accounts.