You can now try out the AI features of the Notion note-taking app, which are meant to help you write and refine text, summarize key points in existing notes, and generate task lists, according to an announcement from the company. Notion started testing its AI offering in November, but now it’s available to anyone with an account, and there’s no waitlist required.
While the AI integrated into the app can write articles from whole cloth (I asked it to write a blog post about the Notion AI announcement, and it spat out 385 words, only some of which were accurate), the company is pitching it more as a “thought partner.” In its announcement post, the company says one of the features alpha testers used the most was asking it to improve text they had written. For example, you can highlight text and ask Notion to rewrite it in a different tone, use simpler language, or simply pad out or cut down a sentence.
Notion AI is also meant to help with other types of tasks — it can, according to the company, summarize an article or notes, generate a task list based on selected text, and do translations.
Like ChatGPT (and unlike Microsoft’s Bing), Notion’s AI doesn’t really seem to have much concept of recent events. I asked it to write about the latest news from Artifact (a personalized news app), and it wrote a reasonably accurate summary of Valve’s 2021 announcement that the company was no longer working on a virtual trading card game. Notion does warn that the AI can output incorrect info, and its guide for using the AI features also says that it may be biased or “output harmful content when prompted.”
The company is “working with multiple partners including OpenAI, Anthropic, among others” to power the feature, according to Notion spokesperson Becky Sosnov, and it’s “constantly testing more” as time goes on.
You can currently try Notion AI for free, with each workspace user getting 20 free AI responses; this promotion will, according to Notion, end on April 5th, 2023. After that (or after you use up your 20 responses), it’ll cost $8 a month per workspace member billed annually or $10 a month per member billed monthly, for which you’ll get unlimited access to the feature.
Notion is far from the only company working to integrate this sort of AI-powered copilot functionality — its announcement tweet even pokes fun at the phrase “limited preview,” which Microsoft used to describe its rollout of Bing’s chat feature. Microsoft reportedly plans to use OpenAI’s tech in several of its products, including Skype and apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Last year, the company released GitHub Copilot, which aims to use AI to help you write code.
It’s not just Microsoft, either. The company that produces Raycast, a productivity tool meant to replace Apple’s Spotlight, announced on Wednesday that it’s integrating OpenAI’s tech to do many of the same things Notion’s AI does — though using it does require signing up for a waitlist. And another note-taking app, Mem, promises to use AI to organize your notes, while the Craft note-taking tool has an “AI assistant” powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3 tech. With other big tech companies like Google working on their own AI chatbots, it seems likely that we’ll see these sorts of features spread to even more apps and services.