Google Docs will start encouraging some users to write less stupidly

Google Docs may soon suggest ways to improve the quality of your writing in addition to correcting simple grammar and spelling errors, the company has announced. A purple wavy line will appear below suggestions to help make your writing more concise, inclusive, active, or to warn you of inappropriate words.

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

Purple underlines in action.
Image: Google

The catch is that Google doesn’t roll out these writing assistance features on all of its Workspace plans. It says “Tone and style” suggestions will be available for “Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, [and] Education Plus Subscribers”. Meanwhile, “Word Warnings” will be available on “Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Education Plus, [and] Teaching and learning plans. This means that if you’re on a more basic plan like Google Workspace Essentials, you won’t get any feature set.

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

Both sets of assisted writing features will be rolling out over the next two weeks for fast-release domains, but most customers will see them rolling out gradually in the second half of April. They will be enabled by default, but can be disabled by workspace admins or end users.

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