Citations are an important aspect of any school paper, whether it’s in college or otherwise. Expository, persuasive, research, or even informal essays all need to properly credit the sources from which they draw information, and Google Docs hasn’t always been the strongest at providing tools to help with this. Back when I was helping people set up their Chromebooks and get all geared up for the back-to-school season, I had many students ask me how they could inject these citations into their work before turning it in.
At that time, I had to refer them to PaperPile and similar extensions. However, over the past few years, Google has improved its approach to this and has provided tools for managing citations in Docs. Until now though, it’s largely been a manual process of copying and pasting them in the document from a Google Search on a separate tab, so far as I’ve understood it.
Now, the latest update to the company’s document editing and collaboration service brings an Explore-style tool whereby you can search for books and online sources right from within the document itself. Taking that a step further, you can also automatically insert them with one click! I should mention that not all information fields will populate, and it will depend on the source.
For those unfamiliar, “Explore” is a built-in tool that lets you find websites, text, images, and more on Google Search right inside of the document by clicking the bottom-right icon. Then, you can insert them automagically. This new citation feature is a simpler version of that, refining search results to just the types of content needed to cite the source.
Google hopes to help speed up the process of citing sources this way, as well as to ensure that formatting is correct. By automatically populating as many fields as possible and taking the process out of your hands, for the most part, the chances of accidentally messing up reduce greatly.
Rapid Release domain owners should already be seeing the update to the Citations tool appearing for their organization, but it may take up to another week to be available across the board. Anyone with a Scheduled Release domain will have to wait until November 29, 2021, and the full rollout for these folks will take up to three days. This goes for all Workspace users across all tiers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers.