Google I/O 2021 saw the company announce enhancements to its productivity suite (Google Workspace) in the form of Smart Canvas, meant to improve collaboration in Docs, Sheets, and Slides with modular features. A new update shows that Google’s trying to make the experience smarter by introducing a few handy features for Docs users.
Google announced that it’s adding automatically generated summaries to Google Docs. This is expected to make parsing documents easier, allowing you to prioritize them appropriately. To take advantage of the feature, click the Summary field, and an AI-generated suggestion will appear in the box, then hit the tab button to accept it. Of course, if you think the auto-suggested summary doesn’t quite cut it, you can easily perform a manual edit.
Smart canvas now also offers a pageless format for Docs that removes the confines of page boundaries. In other words, the page breaks and margins you’re used to in traditional document editors will now be replaced by a fully white canvas — not even a little gray space on the sides. This should make it easier to collaborate on documents with large images, wide tables, or detailed comments without affecting the result when printing or converting to PDF. That said, there’s an option to revert to the paginated view if you’re set in your ways or aren’t quite ready to make the change.
Google also plans to introduce a new Docs email draft template and a Google Maps smart chip for previewing Maps links directly in the word processor. Speaking of plans, Sheets will also get a formula corrections feature, much to the delight of avid users. This tool will provide intelligent suggestions for troubleshooting formulas, catching errors, and delivering faster data insights.
A few additions, like pageless view and summaries, are already rolling out to various Google Workspace packages. However, email draft templates and formula corrections will only be available in the coming weeks. With both Google and Microsoft making substantial changes to improve collaborative features on their tools, both hybrid and work-from-home employees are definitely in for a treat.