Google Docs will encourage some users to write less stupid

Google Docs could soon suggest ways to improve the quality of your writing, in addition to fixing simple grammar and spelling errors, the company has announced. A purple squiggly line appears below suggestions to make your writing more concise, comprehensive, active, or to warn you of inappropriate words.

These new Google suggestions have long been available through third-party services like Grammarly, which integrates with Google Docs and aims to help improve the quality of your writing. Depending on the quality of Google’s original suggestions, this can significantly reduce the need for these third-party services. Does it count as “sherlocking” when someone other than Apple does it?

The purple underlines in action.
Image: Google

The catch is that Google isn’t rolling out these writing assistive features across all of its Workspace plans. It states that the “Tone and Style” suggestions will be available for “Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, [and] Education Plus” subscribers. Meanwhile, “Word Alerts” will be available on “Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Education Plus, [and] Teaching and learning’ plans. That means if you have a basic plan like Google Workspace Essentials, you won’t get either feature.

Google has been a bit confused with new Google Docs features lately. This week it announced Markdown support to the delight of anyone who likes to use text shortcuts instead of keyboard shortcuts to format their writing. And last month it started rolling out a new “pageless” view for Docs, which formats your document for the size of your window rather than an (increasingly hypothetical) piece of paper. If you’re like me and rarely if ever actually print your work, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Both sets of writing assistive features will roll out for quick release domains in the coming weeks, but most customers will see them roll out gradually in the second half of April. They are enabled by default, but can be disabled by workspace administrators or end users.

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