Google adds hand-annotation markup feature to Docs

For anybody who has ever wished for the power to hand annotate straight on a Google Doc, Google announced on Tuesday it’s rolling out a brand new markup feature for Google Workspace prospects, Google Workspace Individual subscribers, and private Google accounts that may enable customers to write straight on a Google Doc with a stylus or their finger. The new feature features a few commonplace pen and highlighter colours (black, blue, pink, inexperienced, yellow), and an eraser. If you don’t like all of these colours, you possibly can add your personal.

There are so many use instances for a feature like this, throughout age teams, industries, {and professional} and private work. Google calls out some good ones in its announcement, particularly for “educators giving college students suggestions on their essays, reviews, brief tales.” Anecdotally, I can’t understate how helpful this feature may very well be for artistic writing college students and professors, particularly.

It melds the old-school method of handing out arduous copies of your work with present computing applied sciences and classroom administration platforms that may combine with Google Drive, like Canvas or Blackboard. But you’ll by no means have to fear about lugging a large stack of paper to class in your workshop day — or working out of print credit on the library. (Flash again to undergrad, circa 2006, when my alma mater began charging college students for printing coursework on the library.)

There’s additionally the tactile facet of this new feature; a whole lot of us artistic writers desire to handwrite growth notes on our friends’ work as a result of not solely is it extra private, however as a result of Google Docs’ system for monitoring enhancing and feedback can rapidly litter the web page. The distinction of typed textual content and handwritten notes on the identical web page could make the data simpler for the author receiving suggestions to parse. Especially for those who write in a enjoyable shade. (Shout out to Allison and her child blue gel pens for making constructive criticism enjoyable.)

But there’s a obvious subject with the start of its rollout: hand annotation is simply accessible on Android units. Windows, macOS, iOS, ChromeOS, and even Chrome Browser customers on any of these units solely have the choice of viewing paperwork with markups, and displaying, hiding, and deleting them. So that shortens the listing of suitable units to Android telephones and tablets. Many Okay-12 college students use non-touchscreen clamshell Chromebooks supplied by the varsity for writing and suggestions assignments, and the older the coed, the extra seemingly they may have a Windows or macOS clamshell laptop computer.

There’s one other subject: within the final 10 years, I can depend the variety of instances I’ve seen one in all my college students or grad faculty colleagues writing on a pill or 2-in-1 on half a hand. So whereas it looks as if Google has created an ideal feature that can be utilized by educators and college students out and in of the classroom, most received’t have suitable units.

If Google opened up the feature to embody Windows, macOS, and iOS units, that would assist alleviate the problem. Apple accounts for nearly 55.9 % of the pill market, in accordance to an October 2023 report published by Statista, and whereas the 2-in-1 laptop computer market is continually rising, some colleges encourage their students to purchase convertible Windows laptops, relying on their main.

Google’s rollout of its new feature began February twenty seventh for customers enrolled in Rapid Release. Users beneath Google Standard launch will begin seeing the brand new feature on March eleventh. Each rollout will take about 15 days.

If you don’t know your launch observe, from the Admin console go to Menu > Account > Account settings > Preferences > Release preferences > New options to verify.

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