Last November, Notion, the popular note-taking app productivity YouTubers swear will change your life, began testing a built-in generative machine learning algorithm dubbed Notion AI. At the time, the company did not share a release date for the feature. But in a surprise announcement made Wednesday, Notion said anyone, including free users, can start using Notion AI.
According to Notion, more than 2 million people signed up for the waitlist the company put in place for users to try the alpha version of Notion AI. After 10 weeks of testing, the company found most testers weren’t asking Notion AI to write blog posts and marketing emails from scratch. Instead, they were using it to refine their own writing. Notion AI includes a formatting menu that includes options to prompt the company’s machine-learning algorithm to do things like shorten or extend the length of your text, change the tone and fix any spelling and grammatical errors. “This suggests that most people start by writing their own content, and treat AI as a thought partner and editor,” Notion said. The company also found people frequently used Notion AI’s “improve writing” option, a feature the company likens to a one-click enhancer for words.
As a result of what it saw during the alpha, the company decided to “completely redesign” Notion AI to make it more “iterative and conversational.” The new version of the tool will generate follow-up prompts until you’re satisfied with its results. “Notion AI is useful for authoring new content — but it will also summarize long documents, extract key learnings from messy notes, improve your writing style, and much more,” Notion says.
While there’s no waitlist involved and Notion says it’s not running a “limited preview,” there is a limit to how much you can use Notion AI before you need to pay. Until April 5th, the company is offering 20 free AI responses to all users. After that, you’ll need to pay $10 per month to continue using Notion AI. For Plus, Business and Enterprise customers, access to Notion AI will cost $10 per member per month. Those customers can get a 20 percent discount on annual plans.
Ten weeks is a surprisingly fast turnaround for a feature Notion CEO Ivan Zhao said in November was very much a work in progress. In that time, generative AI has frequently been in the headlines, often for reasons that don’t inspire confidence in the technology. Late last month, for example, CNET was forced to issue corrections on more than half of the AI-written articles the outlet recently attributed to its CNET Money team. More recently, Microsoft added a limit to how many consecutive questions one could ask of its Bing AI chatbot to prevent the model from producing disturbing responses like the ones it did for New York Times reporter Kevin Roose.
Update 02/22 2:34PM ET: Added more information about Notion's pricing plans.