Google Docs will now practically do your writing for you

Google is rolling out an upgrade for Docs that could help users improve the quality of their writing.

As explained in its latest blog post, the company is adding a number of new “assistive writing features” to the word processing software, including synonym and sentence structure suggestions.

The service will also flag up any “inappropriate” language, as well as instances in which the writer would be better served by using the active rather than passive voice.

Google Docs update

In the form of the Smart Compose feature, which offers autocomplete suggestions as the user types, Google Docs has long been equipped with a measure of intelligence.

However, the company has recently ramped up efforts to introduce artificial intelligence-powered functionality to its Workspace suite, with the goal of boosting user productivity and the quality of work.

In addition to this latest update, Google recently announced that Docs is now capable of summarizing the most salient information in any document, eliminating the need to wade through lengthy reports.

Separately, an update for Google Drive allows the cloud storage service to intuit which documents a user may want to work on at which time of day, cutting the time spent hunting for specific files.

The arrival of further recommendation features for Docs is another step in the campaign to make the company’s product suite more intelligent.

“Suggestions will appear as you type and help guide you when there are opportunities to avoid repeated or unnecessary words, helping diversify your writing and ensuring you’re using the most effective word for the situation,” Google explained.

“We hope this will help elevate your writing style and make more dynamic, clear, inclusive, and concise documents.”

When the tools are active, suggestions will be underlined in purple. Selecting the underline will bring up a small pop up that prompts the user to accept or decline the change.

These suggestions will be switched on by default, but can be deactivated under the Tools menu at the top of the page.

The new Google Docs features are currently in the process of rolling out and should take effect for all premium business customers by the end of the month. The updates will not be available to Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, nor Enterprise Essentials customers.

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Google Docs will now practically write your documents for you

Working together online with your colleagues has always been an essential part of Google Docs but with the launch of smart canvas last year, collaborating with others using the company's office software has become even more intuitive.

In order to help users sort through all of their documents in their inbox, the search giant is introducing automatically generated summaries in Docs which provide a brief overview of the main points in a document. While Google's AI will suggest a summary for you, you can also edit a summary manually and this new feature is now generally available.

With more people working from home than ever before, less documents are being printed. Instead, employees are collaborating on documents online using their laptops and smartphones and as such, page breaks and margins no longer hold the weight they once did.

For this reason, Google is launching pageless format in Doc that allows users to remove the boundaries of a page to create documents that expand to the device or screen they're using. As part of the move to hybrid work, there is less need to print which is why pageless format makes it easier for teams to collaborate on documents with wide tables, large images or detailed feedback in comments. However, if you do want to print a document, you can easily switch back to a paginated view.

Interactive building blocks

With the introduction of smart canvas last year, Google brought interactive building blocks like smart chips, templates and checklists to its office software.

Smart canvas also allows users to pull rich information directly into their documents by using @-mentions to insert smart chips for peoples, files and meetings. Google also recently expanded the “@” menu to make it easier to insert additional things like images, tables and templates.

Now though, the company is bringing this capability to email by allowing users to collaborate on email drafts in Docs with its new email draft template. When an email is ready to send, you just need to click a button to export the content into a draft email in Gmail with all of the relevant fields already populated. At the same time, Google also recently launched a meeting notes template that automatically imports any relevant information from a Google Calendar meeting invite including smart chips for attendees and attached files.

Finally, the company has launched additional smart chips or clickable objects that pull relevant information directly into the collaboration canvas. For instance, the new maps smart chip allows you to easily preview a Google Maps link directly in Docs.

While Google Docs was once just a free office software suite designed to compete with Microsoft Office, the introduction of smart canvas, smart chips and other AI-powered tools has made it the preferred online collaboration tool of users around the world.

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