A new feature to Google Docs will soon be prompting users to write in more gender-neutral terms.
The feature is part of Smart Canvas a new collaboration tool in the Google Workspace that will bring Dogs, Sheets and Slides together more efficiently.
Javier Soltero, Google’s General Manager and Vice President of Google Workspace, unveiled "Smart Canvas" and its features at Google’s I/O Developer conference in Mountain, California on Tuesday.
Among them will be an assistive writing feature. When users are writing in a shared Google Docs file, they will be given suggestions to make their language more "inclusive."
For example, if someone were to write, "Get approval on budgets from budget committee chairman," Google would suggest changing "chairman" to "chair" or "chairperson."
The features are expected to be rolled out for the remainder of 2021.
Many organizations have been pushing for more inclusive language – prompting appreciation from some corners, and mockery from others.
Google has already updated its Google developer documentation style guide to ensure the language is more "inclusive."
For a sentence like, "Before launch, give everything a final sanity-check," the company recommends instead: "Before launch, give everything a final check for completeness and clarity."
Another suggestion is to write, "Equipment installation takes around 16 person-hours to complete" rather than "Equipment installation takes around 16-man hours to complete."