Education

Ginger launches student-friendly pricing for its writing coaching app (update)

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Update at 12:21 p.m. PT: Updated to reflect the accurate name of the new version, that it has a separate pricing structure, not a separate product release. 

Two months ago, the Ginger Page app launched to help people improve their writing skills by correctly spelling and suggesting synonyms, better sentence syntax, and more.

Today, the company is launching Ginger Student, a version of its product focused on students and available as a desktop app and a browser extension. A new, more affordable, and student-friendly pricing tier is now available for the desktop app and browser extension of its Ginger Page app.

Normally, I’d consider such product repackaging rather yawn-worthy, but Ginger Student is attacking a question I’ve long had: Is there technology that can help people with their writing, just as we have technology to help with math and memorization?

Companies have gotten good at creating applications that spit out math problems that you can work out and submit an answer to. They’ve also gotten really good at providing you with quizzing apps to help with memorization (history dates, vocabulary words, etc.). But what about writing problems, which don’t have an objective answer, as math does? Writing skills also can’t be evaluated via a simple quiz as writing requires analysis on various levels and is highly subjective.

Just like in the original version, Ginger packs in a proofreader that detects grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes, a rephraser that suggests alternatives in real-time, access to a dictionary with definitions and synonyms, and a text reader that can translate text, with context, into more than 40 languages.

“We expect Ginger Student to be very popular among students this fall as it offers a number of unique features — such as contextual awareness, advanced proofreader and real-time corrections – that are critical to writing grammatically correct college-level essays,” said Ginger Software chief executive Maoz Shacht in a statement.

This version also sports a sort of “personal trainer,” which studies and adapts to each student’s writing style, crafting personalized feedback and training, and making a dictionary and a “favorites” section available while the student is writing.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see if Ginger Student becomes popular with students and to see how helpful this natural language processing company’s tool really is. Ginger Software originally began as a company focused on helping English learners. While it can likely help students get their writing to a decent level of competency, can it help them take it to an even more advanced level?

That remains to be seen. Moreover, there are other similar services including Hemingway, which recently released a desktop app after starting on the Web, and Writer Pro, a pricey software suite that handles the entire writing process. Students, and writers, should definitely check them all out.

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