Google today is introducing a few new features for some of the Google Apps in the recently launched G Suite.
The most interesting addition is in Google Forms. Now when you start typing in questions to ask respondents, the service will take an educated guess about potential answers. For instance, for a question about what days of the week would be convenient, it could suggest all seven days of the week. You can choose to add some or all of the suggested answers and then subtract answers as you see fit.
“Since its launch in 2008, over a billion questions have been asked in Forms, allowing us to identify common patterns,” Google product manager Ryan Weber wrote in a blog post. “With the help of machine learning and neural networks, we can now predict the type of question you’re asking and suggest response options based on what you type, resulting in 25 percent faster form creation.”
Google has also looked to artificial neural networks — in an approach known as deep learning, which involves training a network on lots of data and then having it make inferences about new data — to enhance its Inbox by Gmail, Google Photos, Allo, and Google Translate services, among other things.
Google Docs will also see enhancements. On the web, there are now many more voice commands for formatting and navigating, Weber wrote. But also, the cloud-based word processing service is getting something called Action Items, which will automatically pick specific people to assign tasks to when you type certain kinds of phrases.
It’s a bit like what happens when you type the word “attached” in Gmail but you didn’t actually attach a file.
Inside Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you’ll be able to assign tasks to people with Action Items by opening the Insert drop-down menu, selecting Comments, mentioning a specific colleague, and then checking the box to assign the task to the person. “To make sure everything stays on track, the assignee will get an email notification and see the action item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file,” Weber wrote.