The Google Docs app was updated with support for Smart Text Selection on smartphones and tablets running Android O, as revealed by the changelog accompanying the latest version of the mobile service that the Alphabet-owned company started distributing on Monday. The update may still be rolling out to users but will presumably be available for download from the Google Play Store in all parts of the world by the end of the week. Apart from a new feature, the latest version of Google Docs also ships with a number of bug fixes and performance improvements, the Mountain View, California-based firm revealed in its changelog, without clarifying on the matter.
Google originally announced Smart Text Selection at this year's iteration of its Google I/O developer conference in mid-May, revealing how the functionality is powered by its machine learning algorithms and related artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The solution is meant to facilitate the process of highlighting individual words or parts of sentences by using Google's AI systems to guess what you're trying to select and assist you in doing so. The technology puts a large focus on context, meaning (e.g.) it's more likely to presume you're trying to select a phone number on Craigslist as opposed to Twitter, though it's also capable of identifying your intentions on its own, as selecting one part of a street address should automatically expand your selection to the entire address by default. The service was mainly designed to facilitate the process of copying, cutting, and pasting content on a touch screen but Google is also looking to integrate it into a number of its other offerings like Maps. Apart from supporting regular text selections, the functionality should also respond to double taps, immediately guessing your desired selection and providing you with a floating contextual menu for manipulating your highlights.
Smart Text Selection is already confirmed to be working in the third developer preview of Android O and should also support the final one that's expected to be released by the end of the month with near-final system images. Google is likely to continue expanding the support for this functionality to other tools in its Android app portfolio in the coming weeks.