Google Docs will now practically write your documents for you

Google Docs logo
(Image credit: Google)

Working together online with your colleagues has always been an essential part of Google Docs but with the launch of smart canvas last year, collaborating with others using the company's office software has become even more intuitive.

In order to help users sort through all of their documents in their inbox, the search giant is introducing automatically generated summaries in Docs which provide a brief overview of the main points in a document. While Google's AI will suggest a summary for you, you can also edit a summary manually and this new feature is now generally available.

With more people working from home than ever before, less documents are being printed. Instead, employees are collaborating on documents online using their laptops and smartphones and as such, page breaks and margins no longer hold the weight they once did.

For this reason, Google is launching pageless format in Doc that allows users to remove the boundaries of a page to create documents that expand to the device or screen they're using. As part of the move to hybrid work, there is less need to print which is why pageless format makes it easier for teams to collaborate on documents with wide tables, large images or detailed feedback in comments. However, if you do want to print a document, you can easily switch back to a paginated view.

Interactive building blocks

With the introduction of smart canvas last year, Google brought interactive building blocks like smart chips, templates and checklists to its office software.

Smart canvas also allows users to pull rich information directly into their documents by using @-mentions to insert smart chips for peoples, files and meetings. Google also recently expanded the “@” menu to make it easier to insert additional things like images, tables and templates.

Now though, the company is bringing this capability to email by allowing users to collaborate on email drafts in Docs with its new email draft template. When an email is ready to send, you just need to click a button to export the content into a draft email in Gmail with all of the relevant fields already populated. At the same time, Google also recently launched a meeting notes template that automatically imports any relevant information from a Google Calendar meeting invite including smart chips for attendees and attached files.

Finally, the company has launched additional smart chips or clickable objects that pull relevant information directly into the collaboration canvas. For instance, the new maps smart chip allows you to easily preview a Google Maps link directly in Docs.

While Google Docs was once just a free office software suite designed to compete with Microsoft Office, the introduction of smart canvas, smart chips and other AI-powered tools has made it the preferred online collaboration tool of users around the world.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.