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Google Docs New Feature Tries to Make Writing More Inclusive, Users Criticize It for Being Unhelpful and Annoying

The use of inclusive language is something that quite a few institutions and thought leaders have been encouraging because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up having a wider impact on society. A new feature that Google Docs recently rolled out is trying to make it easier for writers to write inclusively, and this feature is called Assistive Writing since it recommends words that might be more inclusive as well as taking a good overview of the pros that is being utilized.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that many users are criticizing this feature for not being all that helpful. For example, someone that tried to write about how something was annoying ended up getting a suggestion that they should replace the word with angry or upset. The problem with this is that these words don’t all mean the same thing.

This feature has also been making some other questionable suggestions, such as advising writers to replace the world landlord with something like property owner. That has led to many users referring to it in the same manner that they referred to Clippy on Microsoft Word which was discontinued a couple decades ago because of how unpopular it was.
Only enterprise level Google Docs users who have subscribed to the entire paid G-Suite will get to avail this feature, but it’s unlikely that anyone would be envious of them. Inclusive writing is important, but writers that use words like “motherboard” can’t be expected to change them because of an ostensibly non-inclusive interpretation of the word mother.

It’s clear that this feature was not tested out all that much before getting rolled out which is something that has resulted in it being so frustrating to work with. Google will need to tweak the feature before they can make it popular, and some are questioning whether or not an assistive writing feature is actually something they need if they can write suitably well themselves.


Screenshot: Rebecca Baird-Remba / Twitter

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