Google’s new AI feature will suggest corrections for bad grammar in Google Docs — but it’s making our memories lazy.
Soon there will be no excuse for bad grammar.
Google is adding a grammar check feature to Google Docs to correct even the most complicated errors, the company announced on Tuesday.
The new feature, available exclusively to businesses first before launching publically in the coming weeks, will tap the same AI tech that’s used for Google’s translation features to suggest grammatical corrections.
“Our AI can catch several different types of corrections, from simple grammatical rules like how to use articles in a sentence (like “a” versus “an”), to more complicated grammatical concepts such as how to use subordinate clauses correctly. Machine learning will help improve this capability over time to detect trickier grammar issues,” Google wrote in a blog post.
The tool could help save your career. Mistakes on resumes are the No. 1 way to cost you a job opportunity, after all, as 61% of recruiters will reject a resume or CV if they catch errors, job site CareerBuilder reported. And better grammar could also get you better pay. A 2013 Grammarly survey of 100 native English speakers’ LinkedIn profiles found that those with the least grammatical errors earned more raises and higher-level positions than those whose profiles showed more mistakes.
And on a more personal note, poor grammar in text messages can cost you a date. More than half of singles (58%) said bad grammar in a text or dating message is an even bigger turnoff than bad sex, according to dating site Plenty of Fish.
Google’s new grammar feature is similar to Grammarly, the startup app that has raised $110 million, which helps students and writers by detecting potential grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and style mistakes in writing. Grammarly is also available as a browser extension for Chrome, Safari and Firefox, so you can edit in real time. Similarly, Microsoft Word’s built-in grammar checking system “Editor pane,” offers grammar and writing suggestions highlighted within the text, like sorting when to use “most,” “many” or “much of,” in addition to the spelling tips offered in Microsoft Word.
Aside from fixing misplaced commas and run-on sentences, Google is also stepping up its automated email-writing game. Smart Reply, Google’s tool that predicts how you want to respond to an incoming email by suggesting go-to replies based on the context of the conversation (like “will do” or “sounds good”) will now also be available to Hangouts Chat, Google’s instant messaging service that’s similar to Slack. The feature will pop up when Google detects messages that “Most likely need responses” and give three suggested replies based on your writing habits, such as “good idea,” “I agree” or “Well, maybe not.”
That’s not all. Google will also introduce Smart Compose, a feature that predicts what you will say next while drafting an email in real time. “In addition to autocompleting common phrases, Smart Compose can insert personalized information like your office or home address, so you don’t need to spend time in repetitive tasks,” Google explained in its blog post. “And best of all, it will get smarter with time — for example, learning how you prefer to greet certain people in emails, to ensure that when you use Smart Compose you sound like yourself.”
While Google’s new writing tools are easier and faster — and now practically doing all of your writing and proofreading for you — experts are concerned that these high-tech shortcuts have a negative effect on our memory and creativity. While being able to look something up in an instant is convenient, research from Columbia University professor Betsy Sparrow full warns while plugging something into a search engine can make us better at remembering how and where to find the results we want, it makes us worse at remembering the actual information itself.
It’s also hurting our sense of direction. Mapping devices, apps and GPS make it easier than ever to get to our destinations without getting lost, but we’re also more likely to forget how to get there again, a separate report from Science Daily found.
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