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Google Workspace's Smart Canvas will now automatically summarize Docs

Smart canvas now also offers a pageless format for Docs, a new email draft template for Docs and a Google Maps smart chip.
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Staff Writer on
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Last year, Google launched Smart Canvas within Google Workspace, its productivity suite. Smart Canvas provides a layer of context and collaboration around Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides with a modular set of tools. Now, Google is rolling out a series of updates that make the smart canvas a bit smarter -- including the ability to summarize content within Google Docs automatically.

Smart canvas now also offers a pageless format for Docs, a new email draft template for Docs and a Google Maps smart chip so that users can preview a Maps link directly in Docs. Google will also soon launch intelligent suggestions in Sheets to help users correct formulas. 

Google offered a few stats to illustrate the traction smart canvas has had with customers. Usage now exceeds the usage of comments in Docs, the company said -- more than six million checklists and six million smart chips are added to documents each week via smart canvas. As Ross Rubin noted for ZDNet, Smart Canvas' features play off of the real-time collaborative editing and commenting that Google's suite pioneered.

Now, with automatically-generated summaries in Docs, users will be able to gain an understanding of shared documents quickly. While the summaries are generated with built-in intelligence, users can also edit summaries manually. The feature is now generally available. 

Google is also bringing into GA the pageless format in Docs. This format remotes the traditional page breaks and margins that constrain document production, creating a document that expands with the device or screen you're using. If a user wants to print a document or convert it to a PDF, they can switch back to a paginated view.

Google is also expanding the use of smart chips -- clickable smart chips or clickable objects that pull relevant information directly into the collaboration canvas. WYearscan preview a Google Maps link in Docs. With the new Google Maps smart chip, When you click on the smart chip, it pulls up a thumbnail with information like an image of the location in Maps and the address. Clicking on the thumbnail opens a preview in the Docs side panel. 

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Google is also making it easier to collaborate on emails with a new email draft template in Docs. When users are ready to send their message, they click a button to export the content into a draft email in Gmail, with all the relevant fields automatically populated. Email draft templates will be rolling out in the coming weeks. 

Lastly, Google is adding formula corrections to Sheets via smart canvas. The new, intelligent feature catches errors and suggests ways to troubleshoot formulas. It builds on the formula suggestions feature that Google launched last year to recommend formulas and functions based on the analysed data.

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