Challenged by not being a native English speaker yet operating in an English speaking environment? Start a software company to help you out! That’s exactly what Yael Karov did when she faced similar challenges. Karov founded Ginger Software in 2007, and the Ginger grammar checker program has come a long way since then and undergone many changes. For instance, it has developed personal assistant software using the same technology that was spun off into a separate unit and then sold to Intel in 2014. Now offering apps for the web, iOS, android, Windows, and Macintosh, Ginger Page is a platform agnostic app enabling a person to maintain one’s eloquence wherever one is. Its mission is to remove language barriers between people by enabling everyone to communicate better and faster. It just goes to show that the best ideas are born out of necessity. If not for an Israeli woman with a background in statistical models and natural language processing who needed to learn how to craft better emails and business documents in English, we never would have gotten this program.
It is all about great English, naturally.
Ginger’s Management Team
Today, Ginger consists of an all-male management team, with headquarters in Tel Aviv and additional USA offices in Lexington, Massachusetts.
CEO: Maoz Shacht
Shacht is an accomplished high-tech executive with a proven track record of successfully leading companies into new domains and markets. He joined Ginger in 2013 and has focused on cementing Ginger’s position as a high-value, global product. Previously, Shacht built products and enabled fast growing service at ooVoo. He holds an M.E. in systems engineering and a B.Sc. in information systems engineering.
Vice President, Products: Guy Melamed
Melamed joined Ginger as a veteran digital media professional and serial entrepreneur. He brought a wealth of experience in business, product and design. Melamed has enabled a multi-platform, revolutionary strategy that challenges accepted convention. Thus he develops high value, mass-consumer products. His previous experience includes product and solution design at Time To Know, a high tech start-up delivering breakthrough solutions for today’s teacher-led digital classroom. Melamed graduated from the University of Amsterdam with an MA in communication science and film. In addition, he is trilingual, being fluent in Dutch, English, and Hebrew.
Vice President, R&D: Alex Ben-Ari
Ben-Ari has much experience in software, engineering, architecture, and management of software development processes. Previous experience includes management (for those interested, here’s an interesting piece on Udemy classes, a platform where one can learn about various managerial and software skills) of software development in Rosetta Genomics, where he led a large scale effort of developing and executing distributed machine learning algorithms on very large amounts of genomic data. Ben-Ari has a special expertise in agile software development practices and processes.
CMO: Oded Lilos
Lilos is an online marketing veteran with expertise in navigating the fine line between marketing and product to synergize features, campaigns, branding and everything in between. His current responsibilities at Ginger include customer acquisition and branding strategy, through inbound marketing, search engine optimization and social media. Previously, Lilos worked at Como, managing the SaaS business operations and leading their growth and internationalization initiatives. He grew customer acquisition by 500 percent.
What makes Ginger so valuable? It uses context and machine learning to constantly help you become better at communicating via your writing. It does not just look at individual words to see if the spelling is correct; it looks at each word in the context of the bigger piece to ensure that the sentences and paragraphs are written with proper syntax and punctuation. Furthermore, it uses context to suggest rephrases to better the writing. It is not just about individual words, but about ensuring that the commas and periods are in the proper places, that the sentences are complete sentences and not fragments, and that the spelling is indeed correct. Ginger informs and corrects when the subject does not agree with the verb and when the tenses are not always in the same time and when the nouns are not in sync with plural or singular. When it corrects your writing, it identifies all the errors at once instead of doing each mistake one at a time.
Furthermore, it utilizes artificial intelligence and turns into a personal trainer to help you perfect your writing. Ginger takes your writing with its mistakes and pinpoints your weak points. It then generates exercises to strengthen your weak points in writing on a personal basis.
Ginger Page is a writing enhancement tool that can be used on desktops and mobile devices. For the desktop, Ginger offers us its own note pad with the features in addition to a toolbar that can be used in conjunction with Microsoft Word. Since its user base consists not only of native English speakers, there is also a translator that translates from more than 40 languages into English.
Ginger offers web plugins for both Chrome and Safari web browsers, though you need an account and cookies enabled on your web browser to make full use of the extension.
Ginger can also take advantage of the great contextual abilities of mobile devices with keyboards for both android and iOS operating systems. It utilizes artificial intelligence to learn your needs, uses and habits to improve automatic grammar corrections and suggestions for your communications in many apps. Furthermore, it has partnered up with Any. Do so that one can use Ginger’s keyboard while using the to do list app to provide enhanced capabilities and usefulness to Ginger’s customers.
Freemium is the way Ginger pays the bills. It allows casual users to benefit from a well-designed and crafted free spell check and basic grammar service, while power users upgrade to premium for unlimited usage and premium features. For the casual user, there is a limit to how much the app can be used in one week. Once the limit is reached, the user needs to wait until the following Monday to benefit from Ginger. They have two different packages, basic and premium, with different prices. In addition, the offer student pricing for those who are students and need the help that Ginger provides to write all the necessary papers. It is an inexpensive app at the most expensive level costing $8.10 a month.
One of the nice features offered by Ginger grammar is the Phrase of the Day. Phrase of the Day provides you with a daily lesson in trivia and facts about common and not so common phrases that are not well known. It teaches the real meaning behind the phrase, proper use and context of said phrase and other less known facts. It is a great way for both native and ESL speakers to learn more about the universal language, English.
Another helpful feature is the favorites pin. You can mark your favorite translations, definitions, synonyms, etc. and they will be saved for you in the favorites section. There is also a search function to help you keep track of all your favorites.
The option of a “speaker” is another useful feature, in which the user can select a male or female speaker with a UK or US accent to read the writing aloud. This helps the author proofread and catch mistakes that are hard to do when reading with one’s eyes alone. It acts as an objective voice to catch mistakes that would naturally be missed due to the functioning of the brain that makes it easy to miss certain mistakes.
Collaboration is the name of the game here. Ginger keyboard has integrated with another great android app, Any.Do. Users of both apps can now take notes from a text based conversation using Any.Do’s simple interface directly from the keyboard. Users can also dictate tasks from a text based conversation using Any.Do’s simple interface directly integrated into the keyboard. In addition, users can also organize their day using Any.Do’s daily planning feature directly from the keyboard.
Ginger Software Review
The reviews of Ginger are overall positive. It is a great app employing technology in an awesome manner. It is effective and learns well. How does it compare to what Microsoft Office, Grammarly, Whitesmoke and others offer, or even a human being? This article was written in Word, whose existing spelling check did not pick up on some of the basic spelling mistakes. Furthermore, the pre-installed free grammar checker does not hold a candle to what Ginger offers. Ginger really is an editor and extensive grammar corrector, not just a proofreader, getting into the meat of the text. Is it perfect? Not yet, and it will take a while before we can ditch real live editors. But Ginger catches quite a bit, and thereby leaves the human editor only the real dirty work that needs to be done. Some of the advantages that Ginger offers over other software are the following: it can adjust between British English and US English, it catches the more obvious and less obvious spelling mistakes more often than Grammarly, and there are few mistaken corrections for commonly misused words and redundancies.
It just performs. Once installed it does not lag, break my computer, or become unresponsive. Installation is simple and straightforward; the software does all the work of integrating with Microsoft word.
Ginger does not multitask. Therefore, one has to have it open and running and wait for the grammar checker Ginger to do its work. This can be time consuming and boring not being able to do anything else on the computer.
The software is aesthetically pleasing, but it is not the most intuitive app. Furthermore, their video tutorials are annoying and not that helpful in that one cannot fast forward or backtrack. In addition, as mentioned above, one must have cookies enabled to get full use from the web app, which is a real disadvantage and put off from the web version. And it is not clear if they support various alphabets; I could not find it and there was no mention of it being a paid feature. Being that the translation is a big feature, especially since they are targeting users who are ESL speakers, it is a disappointment that they do not support other alphabets.
One of the disadvantages noted by many is that it does not check for plagiarism. While that is not an issue for most writers and editors, it could certainly be a problem for professors and teachers. Plagiarism is an issue for a comparatively small demographic and is a specialty service that would not serve mass markets.
Ginger faces the challenge of persuading potential users that it offers more than what already comes with a word processor and operating system, both on the desktop and mobile device. After spending time immersed with Ginger and all of its initially confusing aspects, I have to say that it is a great app and not that expensive. It has convinced me that it offers more than what I can get out of Microsoft Word and that it is a great tool to use on the web. If I was a student expecting to write many high-quality papers on deadlines, I would most probably invest in the app. At this point I am too cheap, or frugal, to invest in this app and will continue to break my head. It does a great job of helping anyone, be it a native English speaker making heavy use of their iPhone or an immigrant toiling mightily to communicate better and more eloquently. Ginger fulfills their goal of offering an enjoyable writing experience that is productive and efficient.
Make sure to check out our quest for the best grammar checker!