Google has announced that it is rolling out new real-time, AI-powered spelling and grammar correction capabilities for G Suite users and personal Gmail accounts.
The real-time, as-you-type spelling autocorrection is now available to all G Suite users and personal Gmail accounts, but the Grammar suggestion feature is only available to G Suite users.
The new features use AI to spot and highlight mistakes with spelling and grammar, and even the use of tenses.
The autocorrection spelling feature uses coloured (red) squiggly underlines to highlight spelling mistakes, the mistakes can be auto-corrected, and the changes are temporarily underlined in grey so that you can see the difference between the two.
The AI-powered grammar correction feature, which has previously been available in Google Docs, uses a squiggly blue line to highlight errors in grammar, and pop-ups appear to help make changes to the grammar and allow the user to mark them as correct or switch them back to how they were.
The autocorrect spell-check feature has been added as a default and if users want to turn it off, they can do so by going to Gmail’s Settings > General and then turn off Grammar, Spelling, and Autocorrect.
The benefits to users could be the ability to work smarter and faster, make a better impression with their communications, and learn more about correct spelling and grammar and use the knowledge to feel more confident in their writing over time.
These new features are, however, in competition with, and could affect profits for other third-party spelling and grammar services e.g. Grammarly which relies upon users opting to use an upgrade to a freemium service.
Texting To Blame?
Ofcom figures showing that teenagers, young adults and adults chose text-based communications as their preferred way of communication highlight one of the reasons why many people believe that mobile phone usage, with its reliance on auto-correct, is partly to blame for a decline in the standards of spelling and grammar that has necessitated a further need for more sophisticated AI-based tools.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
For third-party spelling and grammar apps such as Grammarly, this move by Google could reduce the value of (and the perceived need for) their services.
For business users of Google’s services (G Suite and Gmail) these kinds of tools could help save time and improve the quality and consistency of their communications which in turn could positively reflect on their brands.
For Google, these new features could provide an improved experience for their users and add more loyalty and perceived value to Google’s range of services.
Some critics have, however, noted that these features could homogenise the way that we write, could raise privacy concerns, and that the AI technology could also be subject to bias in its suggestions.