Google Docs is getting Smart Compose to help G Suite users write faster


Google has announced plans to bring its AI-powered Smart Compose feature to Google Docs users as part of G Suite.

The company announced its intentions as part of its annual Google Cloud Next conference in the U.K. capital earlier today.

By way of a quick recap, Google first debuted Smart Compose for Gmail last year, serving as an automated tool to help users formulate drafts as they type. It’s kind of like auto-complete for entire emails, given that it predicts what it thinks you want to type next using historical grammar and typing patterns — if you like the suggested text, you just swipe or hit the tab key to accept it. Smart Compose can also leverage contextual cues to make suggestions; for example, if you’re writing a message on a Friday, it may suggest “Have a nice weekend” to complete the email.

Smart Compose arrived for all G Suite users last September, and in the intervening months it has expanded into new languages and landed on more mobile devices, having initially been limited to Pixel phones.

It makes complete sense that Google is now expanding Smart Compose to Google Docs for G Suite, given that there is nothing about the underlying technology that makes it inherently suitable only for emails. Many people who write business documents, such as contracts or marketing copy, often start their drafts in Google Docs, and predictive writing could help speed up the process, prevent repetitive writing, and even reduce spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Smart Compose in Docs

Above: Smart Compose in Docs

It is worth noting here that, as with email, Smart Compose will work better if it’s used regularly, as it will improve over time as it becomes accustomed to a user’s writing style, grammar, and common word sequences.

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There is one small point worth mentioning here though. Given that Smart Compose does require Google to process some aggregate textual data during the beta stage so it can learn and make suggestions, some companies may not be comfortable signing up before the full launch. According to Google, examples of the G Suite usage data it collects during the testing period will include, but is “not limited to”:

when a user accepts or rejects a Smart Compose suggestion; character length of the context; character length since the last suggestion; and the character length of Smart Compose suggestions.

Businesses that are interested in applying for early access to the Smart Compose beta program for Google Docs can read the full T&Cs and apply here.

**Updated 14:20 (20/11/19) to clarify that the aggregate textual data processing only applies to the testing stage, and is not a core part of the Smart Compose feature.



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