Google Integrates Search and Dictation into Docs

Google is rolling out a few enhancements to Docs today including search and voice typing. 

The first big update to Docs is Android-only integrated search, which is available in the app’s “Research” tool. This feature is not new to desktop users, but it is now making its way to mobile. The tool allows users to search for images and text-based content in a split window. If users want to save a piece of information, they can tap a new “insert” button and add it to their Google document.

Vikas Gupta, director of marketing at data company Factual, thinks that this search feature offers mobile users a convenient experience. “It’s making a common behavior – doing research when you are writing something – much easier, especially on a mobile device,” he says.

“While running multiple tabs or side-by-side windows isn’t terribly difficult on desktop with a lot of screen real estate, it’s incredibly painful to work across apps on mobile, so this brings research functionality into the document itself,” Gupta adds. 

Another big update is voice typing in Docs. This dictation feature is built upon Google’s voice-recognition technology and will be available in 40 languages. Users can simply tap and start talking when they access Docs on desktop, or on Android and iOS devices.

Meanwhile, Docs will provide a “see new changes” button to let users see all the edits in a document since the last time they opened it. If users are working on a document with multiple people, their changes will be highlighted in different colors.

Aside from the above nifty enhancements, Google has also created new templates for Docs, Sheets, and Slides, a refreshed user interface for Forms and a new “explore” feature in Sheets that automatically generates charts out of the data in the spreadsheet.

Homepage image via Shutterstock

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