Your Google Sheets are about to get a lot smarter - but only if you pay

Google Sheets
(Image credit: / Vladimka production)

Google has announced what it calls “the next evolution of automated data entry in Google Sheets,” but it will only be available for Duet AI users who are willing to pay an extra $30 per month – or rather, whose companies see the value in such a significant monthly fee.

The addition of Enhanced Smart Fill, an upgraded version of the existing Smart Fill functionality, is designed to help reduce the amount of time workers spend on manual data organization, especially in spreadsheet software.

Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence is what sets it apart and commands the higher price tag, but the difference between it and the regular Smart Fill might not be as substantial as you’d hope.

Google Sheets gets new AI feature

Google said that Enhanced Smart Fill can “recognize and fill patterns like: sentiment classification, combining and generating text, extracting specific text, formatting addresses, structuring phone numbers and emails, condensing text and more.”

Smart Fill, which was added in 2020, already “detects patterns between columns and suggests data for remaining cells using Google’s Knowledge Graph.”

Enhanced Smart Fill in Google Sheets

(Image credit: Google)

Some potential use cases include generating simplified next steps for businesses from unformatted notes, or creating messages in response to data in other cells. The reality is that the feature looks to be an embedded, contextual deployment of an existing generative AI feature, rather than anything particularly pioneering.

Google added: “This feature will only appear if relationships between data points exist within your spreadsheet.”

The feature has been switched on by default for Duet AI for Google Workspace Enterprise users so long as the right conditions are met, and there are no admin controls to disable it.

While the feature in isolation is rather underwhelming, the fact is that small injections of GenAI across Sheets and the rest of Google’s free office apps will add up to considerable productivity boosts for many workers.

More from TechRadar Pro

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!