Insights - Martech

Review: TextFx from Google

Google’s latest tool for wordsmiths attempts to show a future where there is collaboration, not conflict, between AI and creators.

Screenshot TextFx home page

TextFx from Google is an AI ‘experiment’ in collaboration with Grammy-award winning rapper, Lupe Fiasco. 

Google’s Creative Technologist, Aaron Wade, says that he thought that Lupe would ask for the LLM to write rap lyrics. Instead, the singer asked for tools that would help him explore the universe of possibilities associated with a word, so he could break through creative blocks.

Surprisingly Useful

TextFx is a set of 10 focused tools that range from finding similies and acronyms for a word, to asking for a POV, or even just getting an unexpected hot take!

A slider allows you to control the ‘temperature of the creativity’ the LLM uses to answer the prompt.

Regardless of whether you’re working on lyrics, an essay or just the company blog, there are some common stumbling blocks along every writer’s journey. What’s another adjacent word? How do I make this line snappier? Is there an angle to this I‘m missing? Lupe says the real goal of TextFx is to introduce users to working with language in ways they wouldn’t have thought about earlier.

We played around the tools and found that they were surprisingly useful.

In fact, for every query we tried, the results from TextFx were far more sophisticated and useful than using either ChatGPT or Bard.

screenshot of similies and unexpected tools from textfx
For the same word ‘story’ TextFx generates outputs depending on the tool – Left – Unexpected, Right-Similies

Finally, a Worthy Interface

Designer Khyati Trehan was involved with the overall branding and designed the landing page as well as the graphics of the video. The UI was designed primarily by José Guizar, and in a welcome first for AI tools, the overall interface looks great. THC readers will appreciate the little details, like the background colour switch for each tool.

screenshot from textfx showing Unexpect tool
Thankfully there are no twinkling stars in the TextFx interface

Lupe Fiasco adds a generous helping of charm as he explains how to use each tool in a short video.

There is also a ‘Look under the Hood’ option which sets out how the LLM was primed to answer that prompt.

The THC Take

TextFx is the second collaboration from Google’s Lab Sessions. The first was a session with composer Dan Deacon, who used the company’s MusicLLM to create a song and Bard to write a guided meditation.

In this conversation with artist Android Jones at Burning Man, OpenAi founder Sam Altman says that he never anticipated that the first industries AI would impact would be creative ones. Along with the many IP issues that have arisen, the fear that AI will, in time, replace creators is a real one.

Lab Session’s collaborations clearly aim to assuage these apprehensions. By showcasing how AI tools can augment creativity in different scenarios, Google has started the long haul of shaping public perception of AI. In Lupe‘s words, the attempt is to show creators that AI can “push you over the wall, when you run into one.”

Just one small thing though, the folk at Google may have forgotten to give the LLM the memo.

screnshot from textfx saying ai and creativity dont mix
Output generated by TextFx when asked for a POV on AI and Creativity

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