Notion, the company behind the popular note-taking app of the same name, has started testing a new feature called Notion AI that uses a generative AI to write notes and other content. The Verge got a chance to use the software before today’s announcement. The interface is straightforward. You first select the type of writing you want help with from a list that includes options like “blog post,” “marketing email” and “to-do list.” You then provide the software with a suitable prompt, hit the blue “Generate” button and then watch as it creates text in real-time.
Judging from some of the writing the tool produced for The Verge, it benefits, like other generative AIs, from the user being as specific as possible about what they want. For instance, when the outlet asked Notion AI to write a blog post about the state of the smartwatch industry, the resulting draft mentioned the Apple Watch 4, Samsung Galaxy Watch and Tizen. In other words, it wrote about the state of the market in 2018, not as it exists today.
Notion CEO Ivan Zhao was quick to acknowledge the feature is a work in progress. It’s currently labeled as an alpha, with no release date announced. To try Notion AI, you’ll need to sign up for a waitlist and wait for an invite from the company. As for who this is for, Zhao said he envisions the software solving the “cold start” problem a lot of people face when they sit down to write something. The idea isn’t so much for Notion AI to produce a piece that’s ready to publish right away, but it could give you a first draft you can revise and polish into something that you’re comfortable sharing with the world. Zhao suggests the software is also handy for brainstorming and translating text you’ve written.
“The truth is sometimes we all just get stuck. In those cases, Notion AI can help you write,” Notion says of its new tool in a one-minute promotional video the company shared. With today’s soft launch, Notion AI is free to use, but Notion notes it will likely cost extra in the future. The company also says it will open the feature to more testers as its AI gets better.