Skip to main content

Google Docs gets a grammar checker that relies on machine translation

Google Docs gets a grammar checker that relies on machine translation

Share this story

Image: Google

Google Docs is, at long last, getting a grammar-checking feature, which’ll be able to identify mixed up words (like “affect” and “effect”), incorrect tenses, improper uses of commas and clauses, and more. To do all of that, Google says it’ll be relying on machine translation — the same technology it uses to translate between multiple languages. Except, instead of translating a sentence from, say, French to German, it sounds as though it’ll be translating your imperfect writing into a grammatically correct passage.

Details on what the grammar checking feature is capable of and exactly how its AI will work are limited right now. All we really know is that Google is already quite capable when it comes to machine translation — two years ago, the company said its tech was approaching human levels of accuracy. So it makes sense that Google would lean on its already established tech when developing this feature.

Grammar checking launches today for business users

That said, adding an AI component to a grammar checker isn’t a new idea. One major competitor, the keyboard and browser extension Grammarly, also says it uses “a sophisticated artificial intelligence system” to analyze each sentence.

The grammar check feature won’t be widely available right away. It’s launching first for business users, and it’ll have to be enabled by a company’s administrator in order for users to test it out. They’ll be able to start doing that today; Google didn’t say when the feature would be released to consumer accounts or which languages the feature would support at launch.

In addition to the grammar check feature, Google also said today that it’s going to start enabling its Smart Compose feature inside of Gmail for business customers. The feature, which basically autocompletes entire sentences for you based on the context of your email, launched to the public as an “experimental feature” in May. Google now says it’ll roll out to G Suite users in the “coming weeks.”