Welcome to an interview with Nikolas Baron, of Grammarly.
1. What is your name and your relation to e-learning?
My name is Nikolas Baron and, for the last two years, I have been Head of Online Marketing at an automated writing enhancement software company called Grammarly. My ultimate focus is to make Grammarly as visible as possible to our potential users online; our most popular users being students and teachers.
|Nikolas Baron, Grammarly.com|
2. What is Grammarly? How did it start? How has it evolved?
Grammarly is the most advanced writing enhancement software out there with its grammar, spelling, and plagiarism checker. We are currently used by four plus million people around the world. Our biggest users are students wanting to write stronger essays, theses, and college applications and teachers needing a tool to grade their students’ work and authenticity.
Two ESL learners and our founders, Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn, started Grammarly in 2008 with the purpose of improving lives by improving communication. Alex and Max foresaw an opportunity to create a powerful tool that would instantly and accurately provide written writing assistance to the more than two billion native and non-native English language speakers worldwide. Grammarly’s algorithms have significantly evolved since then. We also started with a web application and expanded to a Microsoft Office add-in and a web browser extension to provide more accessibility to our users.
3. How are interactive grammar tools better than they were a few years ago?
The English language has many exceptions to its rules and writing enhancement software was very inaccurate in detecting any contextual errors such as “there, their, and they’re”. Today, Grammarly can more accurately catch and correct English spelling and grammar mistakes based on deviations from baseline grammar standards. For example, when a user receives feedback from Grammarly with a detailed explanation, they make an informed decision about how, and whether, to correct the mistake and Grammarly’s algorithms learn based on their actions.
4. How is Grammarly different than other programs? For example "WriteClick" offers automated grammar checks.
Grammarly regularly conducts tests to compare our algorithms against our competitors. Our continuously improving machine learning algorithm always wins. In addition to being more accurate, our Google Chrome extension, Microsoft Office add-in, and web application mean Grammarly is accessible where you write. Grammarly also has an intuitive product experience created by our world-class UX designers. I would suggest testing out the free Chrome extension since nothing beats personal experience.
5. How is Grammarly available? Is it cloud-based and can it be used on my phones (iPhone 6 and Nexus 5)?
Grammarly is a web application, Chrome extension, and Microsoft Office add-in. Grammarly’s core English grammar checking engine relies on powerful algorithms and cloud-based processing infrastructure to accurately catch writing errors. However, this technology is yet accessible from your smartphone device.
6. What are some of the drawbacks of Grammarly? Can Grammarly be used for people learning English?
Although Grammarly is the most advanced grammar and spell-checking software, it is not a replacement for a human proofreader… yet! Our tool is best used as a second pair of eyes. I recommend initially trying it on the first draft of an essay, an important email, or even a blog post.
Grammarly is a great English-learning supplement because it offers explanations for every change it suggests. Although I speak and write English fluently, I still find Grammarly breaking my bad writing habits.
7. What are your plans for the future?
The potential for writing enhancement software is enormous, and Grammarly is evolving fast to meet it. Our focus is quality and usability. Grammarly’s spelling, grammar, and plagiarism checker is getting closer to the accuracy of a human proofreader each day. We are also working to integrate more closely into people’s lives by creating our extension for Chrome, which will soon release for other browsers. It is an exciting time to be here!