Irritating Google Docs is irritating

The backdrop of the shenanigans of ChatGPT, Bard and other artificial intelligence (AI) systems these days has only served to accentuate how increasingly frustrating working with Google Docs is. I use Docs every day to write my articles and edit those that the freelancers I’m working with have filed. I don’t use tools like Grammarly but I do pay attention Docs’s blue and red underlines indicating grammatical and typographical aberrations, respectively. And what Docs chooses to underline either way is terribly inconsistent. I have written previously on how Docs ‘learns’ grammar, based on each user’s style, and expressed concern that its learning agent could be led astray by a large number of people, such as Indians, using English differently from the rest of the world and thus biasing it. Fortunately this issue doesn’t seem to have come to pass – but the agent has continued to be completely non-smart in a more fundamental way. This morning, I was editing an article about homeopathy on Docs and found that it couldn’t understand that “homeopathy”, “homeopathic”, and “Homeopathy” are just different forms of the same root word. As a result, correcting “homoeopathy” to “homeopathy” didn’t suffice; you have to correct each form to remove the additional ‘o’.

It gets worse: the same word in bold is, according to Google Docs, a different word…

… as is the word with a small ‘H’.

Google has a reputation for having its fingers in too many pies and as a result neglecting improvements in one pie because it’s too busy focusing on another. There is also a large graveyard of Google products that have been killed off as a result. There’s some reason, for now, to believe Docs won’t meet the same fate but then again I don’t know how to explain the persistence of such an easily fixable problem.