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Google expands AI-powered grammar checker in Docs to all G Suite users

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The power of machine translation to help you improve your writing at work

Photo by Michele Doying / The Verge

Google today announced that its artificial intelligence-powered grammar checker will now be a native feature in Google Docs for all users of G Suite, its corporate suite of web tools and services. The grammar checker, which Google announced last July, is powered by machine translation, which is the same subset of AI tools that enable software’s natural language processing capabilities and the ability to translate text from one language into another.

At the time, the AI-powered grammar checker had to be turned on by a system administrator, meaning it wouldn’t be widely available by default. Now, Google says all G Suite users will see these suggestions popping up in Google Docs. Some of the common ones include usage of affect versus effect, when to use they’re instead of their, and tricky tense issues. To differentiate it from standard spellcheck, which highlights misspelled words in red, the grammar checker will use blue squiggly lines to underscore an error that should be addressed.

“Using machine translation, we are able to recognize errors and suggest corrections as work is getting done. 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 AI,” writes Vishnu Sivaji, a G Suite product manager at Google, in a blog post. “In doing so, machine translation techniques can catch a range of different corrections, from simple grammatical rules such as how to use ‘a’ versus ‘an’ in a sentence, to more complex grammatical concepts such as how to use subordinate clauses correctly.”

Unfortunately, the feature is still restricted to business users. But the expansion to all G Suite customers and having it turned on by default in Google Docs is a good indication that the company is prepping the grammar checker for a wider consumer release at some point in the future.