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No need to worry if your tenses agree or if you’ve mistakenly ended a sentence with a preposition — if you’re a G Suite user, that is. Google today announced that it’s bringing Grammar Suggestions, an AI tool that recognizes (and offers to fix) stylistic and syntactical errors, to all G Suite Basic, Business, and Enterprise customers starting March 5. Google also said that it’s introducing a revamped interface for reviewing spelling and grammar recommendations designed to make it “faster” and “easier” to spot and correct textual errors.
“If you’re working against deadlines to create documents daily, having correct grammar probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. And when it is, it seems there’s almost always a contested debate about what is correct,” Vishnu Sivaji, product manager at G Suite, wrote in a blog post. “Even professional[s] have a hard time agreeing on grammatical suggestions.”
Google took the wraps off of Grammar Suggestions in July 2018 during its Cloud Next conference, where it launched in preview through G Suite’s Early Adopter Program. The feature taps machine learning algorithms — the same that underlie Google Translate — to comprehend simple rules such as when to use “a” versus “an,” “affect” versus “effect,” and “there” versus “their,” as well as more complicated concepts like subordinate clauses.
Grammar Suggestions recommendations will appear inline in the form of squiggly blue lines underneath erroneous phrases. Right-clicking on suggestion dismisses or accepts it, and selecting “Review more suggestions” will show additional suggestions and corrections. Grammar corrections will also appear when running a spelling and grammar check through the Tools menu.
Google says it worked closely with linguists to build an AI model that “incorporate[s] the complexity and nuance” of grammar correction. Grammar, Sivaji noted, is more complicated than spelling mistakes, which are largely objective and which can be tackled with dictionaries and fixed sets of rules.
“Grammar … can vary based on the language, region, style and more,” he said. “We worked closely with linguists to decipher the rules for the machine translation model and used this as the foundation of automatic suggestions in your Docs, all powered by [machine learning].”
It could take up to 15 days for Grammar Suggestions and the new interface to roll out to all domains, the Mountain View company notes. Neither will available to G Suite for Education, G Suite Enterprise for Education, and G Suite for Nonprofits, unfortunately.
Grammar Suggestions builds on Smart Reply, a machine learning-powered feature that uses AI to generate brief, contextually relevant responses to incoming messages. (It came to Hangouts Chat, Google’s Slack-like enterprise chat platform, last year.) Another of the search giant’s AI-driven language tools — Smart Compose, which autocompletes sentences in emails by drawing on historical typing patterns and other data — became broadly available to Gmail users last year.
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