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Google AI Smart Compose: Transforming Writing With Artificial Intelligence

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Google Smart Compose leverages AI and ML to enhance writing by predicting sentences, avoiding errors, and improving productivity in emails and short compositions. It offers valuable assistance while allowing users to maintain their unique writing styles. However, while beneficial, it's important to be aware of potential biases and limitations associated with societal patterns.

Google Smart Compose has enabled users to write better content faster. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), it predicts your next sentence and helps you avoid grammatical or punctuation errors.

If you’ve used Google products like Gmail, Google Docs, or Google Sheets on desktop or mobile, you’ve likely used the Smart Compose feature.

What Is Google Smart Compose?

Let’s explore Google Smart Compose through a typical scenario in our daily lives. Imagine you’re composing a reply to an email in your Gmail account. As you begin typing your response after hitting the Reply button, you notice that certain words or sentences automatically appear.

These suggestions are contextually relevant and may seem like valuable additions to your email. To incorporate them, all you need to do is press the Tab key, and the sentence seamlessly becomes a part of your email body. Of course, you have the freedom to reject these suggestions if they don’t align with your intended message.

Furthermore, you’ll notice that Smart Compose intelligently recognizes and populates the name of the recipient in your reply email, further streamlining the writing process.

One of the notable benefits of Google Smart Compose is its ability to expedite your writing process while ensuring grammatical accuracy.

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Smart Compose’s capability to predict your writing is possible through the utilization of AI and ML technology. By analyzing your existing content, it learns patterns and context to generate relevant suggestions. This advanced technology powers Smart Compose across various Google products, including Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, which can be used on both desktop computers and smartphones.

It’s important to note that the usage of Smart Compose is optional and can be customized based on your preferences.

While Smart Compose has been available for Gmail and Google Docs, Google has been experimenting with its integration into Google Chat, initially rolling it out to a limited number of users. However, Google plans to make it available to all Google Chat users by July, expanding its reach and usability.

Ыmart Compose currently supports English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese languages.

How Does It Work?

Google Smart Compose possesses the ability to understand and adapt to your unique writing style, providing personalized suggestions tailored to your preferences. The method of accepting these suggestions may vary depending on whether you’re working on a desktop or laptop, where pressing the Tab key is typically used, or on a smartphone, where tapping on the suggestions is common.

While Smart Compose aims to offer personalized recommendations, some users have reported observing generic suggestions that may not be specific to their writing style. It’s important to acknowledge that achieving fully personalized suggestions can be a complex task. The system’s performance may vary based on individual experiences. However, Google’s AI and ML algorithms continuously learn from users’ writing styles, tone, cognitive bias, and word choices to refine and improve the suggestions over time.

It’s worth noting that the personalized recommendations provided by Smart Compose are strictly private. They are only visible to the user themselves, and not even the IT administrator of an organization has access to view them. This ensures the privacy and confidentiality of the user’s writing content.

Like many other AI-powered products, Google Smart Compose is an evolving technology. Continuous advancements in AI and ML techniques contribute to the ongoing improvement of Smart Compose’s performance and the refinement of its recommendations.

How Does It Change the Way You Write?

Google Smart Compose has revolutionized the writing process, offering notable benefits in terms of productivity and quality.

  • Write faster

By embracing the personalized recommendations offered by Google Smart Compose, the user can significantly expedite the composition of their emails or articles. Accepting these suggestions is a simple and effortless process. This is particularly beneficial when crafting short emails, as the generated recommendations can effectively cover the majority of the email body, including the salutation, address, and even the user’s signature.

  • Improve quality

The AI and ML technology behind Google Smart Compose is designed to learn from the user’s individual writing style, enabling it to offer grammatically correct and contextually accurate recommendations. This significantly reduces the effort required to review one’s draft composition for correctness and accuracy.

Smart Compose proves particularly beneficial for individuals who may not possess strong writing skills or feel less confident in their writing abilities.

Limitations of Google Smart Compose

Google Smart Compose, like many AI and ML tools, is not exempt from the inherent limitations associated with bias. An incident was brought to light where Smart Compose inaccurately recommended the use of “him” instead of “her” in an email, highlighting a potential gender bias issue.

This seemingly minor error sheds light on a larger problem rooted in societal patterns. AI and ML programs analyze vast amounts of data, including millions of emails and compositions, which often reflect existing gender disparities. Consequently, the tools tend to learn and perpetuate gender bias in their recommendations.

Google acknowledges the challenge of addressing the bias and has made efforts to mitigate this issue. According to Paul Lambert, the company’s product manager, various approaches were attempted to eliminate gender bias. However, all of them failed.

However, eliminating bias from Smart Compose remains a complex problem due to the nature of the data it learns from and the intricacies associated with understanding and addressing societal biases.

The available data reflects societal biases and discrimination, which can inadvertently influence the learning system. Google is actively seeking ways to remove biased and discriminatory elements from the data, but this process may involve human reviews, making it a challenging and potentially impractical task.

Without effectively addressing these limitations, Google exposes itself to potential criticism and legal implications. Incorporating more advanced features while mitigating biases is crucial to ensure the system’s credibility and to address societal concerns.

Another notable limitation of Google Smart Compose is its compatibility with writing that involves intricate scholastic, technical, or research data. Professional writers or individuals who adhere to a specific custom style guide within an organization may choose to disregard the tool as it could interfere with their established writing practices.

The Bottom Line

Google Smart Compose, in its current state, is most effective for emails and shorter compositions. However, for detailed and extensive compositions, writers who adhere to a specific style guide and have established review systems may not find the recommendations of the tool suitable.

Nevertheless, Smart Compose holds strong potential in the corporate world, where the ability to quickly draft high-quality emails and concise compositions is highly valued. Its focus on efficiency and writing quality aligns well with the needs of professionals in corporate circles.

As Google continues to refine Smart Compose, it is expected to expand its applications and cater to a broader range of writing scenarios, meeting the diverse needs of its users.

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Kaushik Pal

Kaushik is a technical architect and software consultant with over 23 years of experience in software analysis, development, architecture, design, testing and training. He has an interest in new technologies and areas of innovation. He focuses on web architecture, web technologies, Java/J2EE, open source software, WebRTC, big data and semantic technologies. He has demonstrated expertise in requirements analysis, architectural design and implementation, technical use cases and software development. His experience has covered various industries such as insurance, banking, airlines, shipping, document management and product development, etc. He has worked on a wide range of technologies ranging from large scale (IBM…