Google Sheets Update Brings AI-Driven Enhancements

Google has announced that several new features are coming to Google Sheets online that are aimed at bringing more Artificial Intelligence into the spreadsheet service.  All of the features are aimed at increasing productivity, be it through automatic suggestions on formulas or, in natural language, being able to build a pivot table in the Explorer tab.

For most users, the easier creation of pivot tables is the big improvement in this update to Sheets.  Now by typing in a simple question into the Explorer tab in a Sheets file, it will suggest and auto-create a pivot table based on the data in that spreadsheet.  As Google says…

In the Explore panel, you can also ask questions of your data using everyday language (via natural language processing) and have the answer returned as a pivot table. For example, type “what is the sum of revenue by salesperson?” or “how much revenue does each product category generate?” and Sheets can help you find the right pivot table analysis.

This is a powerful way to interact with your data and builds on the already impressive data mining tools that can be found in Explorer.

Another nice new feature that is coming to Google Sheets is full formula auto-filling.  If you have a row or column of figures, in the empty cell next to or below them you can simply enter an = sign and Sheets will start creating a formula for you.  What is new is that it gives you the full formula, not just formula suggestions.  This based on the Machine Learning behind-the-scenes looking at the data in the cells to determine what formula is needed.

Right now these new features are destined for everyone over the course of the next few weeks.  They are also aimed at the web-based version of Sheets for now but could make their way into the Android and iOS versions of the apps at a later date.

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