Google Docs Is Getting Smarter

Google is updating Docs so it can make better suggestions during the writing process.

“We’ve added several new assistive writing features in Google Docs,” Google says, “which will provide a variety of tone and style suggestions to help you create impactful documents faster.”

Google says that Docs will mark potential areas of improvement with a purple underline, which tracks, since it currently uses red and blue underlines to indicate misspellings and poor grammar. The company says Docs will now offer suggestions that fall into these five categories:

  • Word choice: More dynamic or contextually relevant wording 
  • Active voice: Active rather than passive voice 
  • Conciseness: More concise phrases 
  • Inclusive language: More inclusive words or phrases 
  • Word warnings: Reconsidering potentially inappropriate words 

The announcement of these new features came shortly after Google said that Docs would finally expand support for Markdown, a markup language used by many other apps. Unlike extended Markdown support, however, these assistive writing features won’t be available to all users.

Suggestions related to “Word choice, Active voice, Conciseness, Inclusive language” will be available to Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, and Education Plus customers.

“Word Warnings,” meanwhile, will be available for Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Education Plus, and Teaching and Learning Upgrade users, presumably so kids won’t accidentally offend anyone.

Google says the new assistive writing features has started rolling out to some Workspace users; the rollout should be complete by April 29.

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