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Saturday, April 1, 2023

How We Created Customized Snippet Solutions With out Storing Person Textual content

With Grammarly Enterprise, we assist our customers talk higher and keep productive. The snippets function is designed for precisely this: It enables you to rapidly select a phrase or phrase from a library of saved textual content to insert into your chat window or e-mail. For customer-facing groups who ceaselessly need to reuse brief items of textual content, snippets save time on repetitive typing and shield in opposition to typos and errors when speaking with clients.

To start out utilizing and getting worth from snippets, customers have to have just a few items of generally used textual content already saved to their snippet library as personalized advised snippets. It is a cold-start drawback, and it might imply that customers don’t find yourself seeing the function regardless that they’d discover it useful. On this article, we’ll clarify how we developed an answer that enabled us to be taught when a sentence was one {that a} consumer typed ceaselessly—with out ever storing any of the consumer’s textual content.

Find out how to clear up a cold-start drawback

There are just a few alternative ways we might clear up our cold-start drawback for snippets:

  • Prepopulate the snippets library with generic snippets (like greetings). This method helps, however solely considerably. There aren’t many snippets which might be each common and high-value. Generic greetings, as an example, can sound “canned” and are already brief to kind.
  • Create industry- or business-function-specific snippet collections. This may assist us clear up the cold-start drawback, nevertheless it requires a whole lot of analysis to grasp which snippets would work in every {industry}. It doesn’t scale properly both—so as to add one other {industry} or enterprise operate, we would want to do extra guide work.
  • Ask Grammarly Enterprise account house owners or contributors to create snippets for his or her division. That is asking a whole lot of our customers. It requires vital effort to arrange a snippet library from scratch, and it’s unlikely that one single individual has the experience to take action.

None of those options was a fantastic match. We needed one thing scalable that we might implement pretty rapidly so our enterprise customers might simply uncover this function.

The answer we got here up with was easy: Suggest new snippets to customers primarily based on their writing habits. When the consumer sorts textual content that they’ve ceaselessly typed previously, we’d counsel that they create a snippet with one click on. This lets us clear up the cold-start drawback with out having to fill the library prematurely, and it scales.

Nevertheless, this resolution offered a completely new problem. When Grammarly is activated and checks our customers’ writing to supply recommendations, we course of their knowledge. We don’t retailer consumer knowledge in affiliation with their account, although, until textual content is saved within the Grammarly Editor to permit for consumer entry. Privateness is central to how we design our service choices. So we wanted to discover a technique to detect customers’ ceaselessly used sentences with a view to ship customized snippet recommendations with out storing textual content.


To detect customers’ ceaselessly used sentences, we are able to’t simply search for distinctive textual content, since customers usually write the identical issues barely in another way. As an illustration, contemplate the 2 sentences “Please let me know the way it goes” and “Let me know the way it went.” If the consumer sorts “Let me know the way it goes” subsequent time, we would need to counsel making a snippet, as a result of they’ve typed two very related sentences previously.

How can we accomplish this with out storing consumer textual content knowledge related to their consumer ID? There’s a household of hashing algorithms referred to as locality-sensitive hashing that may assist. Common hashing algorithms have to have two properties:

The hash operate ought to return the identical hash worth for a similar objects, so it shouldn’t change over time or due to different elements.

It shouldn’t return the identical worth for all objects—in any other case, it will be a horrible hash operate!

Locality-sensitive hashing or LSH defines a 3rd property: Related objects ought to have related hashes. For instance, contemplate the three sentences “Let me know the way it went,” “Please let me know the way it goes,” and “Hello, my title is Bob.” With locality-sensitive hashing, the primary two sentences would have “shut” hashes, whereas the third can be additional away. Similarity metrics are normally outlined as some form of distance—cosine, Euclidean, Hamming, or different.

As we are able to see within the above diagram, the primary two sentences are extra related than the second and the third. That is an instance of the LSH algorithm at a really excessive degree. There are a number of implementations of LSH for textual content knowledge, like MinHash and SimHash. We picked SimHash because it performs sooner than MinHash, and that is necessary as a result of as a writing assistant, we have to present recommendations instantly with out disrupting the stream of writing. We used the Hamming distance as a similarity metric.

Thus, we’ve got a solution to our query of the best way to acknowledge related bits of consumer texts with out storing that textual content on our servers in affiliation with consumer accounts. We will retailer the hashed model as a substitute of the uncooked textual content!


A lot of Grammarly’s options are unfold throughout a number of companies with one frequent endpoint for all requests. This endpoint is chargeable for taking textual content and distributing it to a number of backends for processing. We added to this course of by having the endpoint additionally compute SimHash for all sentences. This offers us the next tuple:

(userId, [sentence1, sentence2, sentence3]) → (userId, [hash1, hash2, hash3])

The hashed textual content is distributed via Kafka to our long-term storage, the place we retailer weekly occasions knowledge for batch processing. We created a Spark job for our use case that runs day by day and finds ceaselessly used sentence hashes. The job takes all of the consumer’s hashes primarily based on the sentences we checked through the previous week and compares them with one another by Hamming distance. We outline two sentence hashes as “related” if their Hamming distance is lower than a predefined threshold. This lets us discover the highest sentence hashes that had greater than related hashes through the week. After we discover the candidates, we retailer the leads to Redis as a hash in the identical format.

Key: userId, Worth: [hash1, hash2, hash3]

Redis offers fairly quick entry as a result of all knowledge is saved in reminiscence. Each time the system checks consumer textual content and computes hashes, we are able to question Redis for the highest n hashed consumer sentences. Then it checks if the consumer’s textual content accommodates any candidates for snippets, and if there are any, we are able to suggest that the consumer add it as a snippet. Now, if the consumer sorts “Let me know the way it goes” and so they have beforehand typed “Please let me know the way it goes” and “Let me know the way it went,” we might suggest that they create a snippet for the “Let me know the way it goes” textual content. And we’ve achieved this with out ever storing what they typed as a result of we solely saved the hashes of these sentences.


When evaluating this method, we realized we wanted to develop a workaround for limitations relating to lengthy texts. For those who edit the identical lengthy doc a number of occasions over the course of every week, this algorithm will detect many snippet candidates as a result of the identical textual content has been processed a number of occasions. For the reason that snippets function is a productiveness instrument designed for customer-facing groups who normally work with short-form paperwork, we determined to slender down the record of apps and exclude instruments like Pages and Google Docs.

As with every new function rollout at Grammarly, we carried out an A/B check to confirm that our preliminary speculation was appropriate. We needed to extend the adoption of the snippets function by suggesting customers create new snippets primarily based on their day-to-day writing habits. We measured what number of customers created and used snippets in every group. We ran the experiment for one month, and the outcomes have been fairly spectacular: As we anticipated, we noticed elevated snippet creation in comparison with the customers who by no means noticed the suggestions.

This function is a superb instance of how we are able to ship vital worth to our customers whereas sustaining the very best privateness requirements, so our customers can belief Grammarly for all their writing—whether or not it’s private or enterprise.

Excited about fixing issues like these? Grammarly is hiring. And we’d wish to thank the unbelievable staff that labored on this venture: Elise Fung, Nastya Zlenko, Nikolai Oudalov, Kirill Golodnov, and Nikita Volobuev. Thanks on your collaboration and contribution!

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