Grammarly is a cloud-based typing assistant that reviews spelling, grammar, punctuation, clarity, engagement, and delivery mistakes. It uses artificial intelligence to identify and search for an appropriate replacement for the error it locates. It also allows users to customize their style, tone, and context-specific language. It was launched in 2009 by Ukrainians Alex Shevchenko, Max Lytvyn, and Dmytro Lider. In 2018, Grammarly launched the beta version of its browser extension, which is optimized for Google Docs. As of 2022[update], it is available as a downloaded program for use with desktop applications, as a browser extension, and as a smartphone keyboard.
Max Lytvyn, Alex Shevchenko, and Dmytro Lider founded Grammarly two years after designing a program called My Dropbox, which was a program that checked essays for plagiarism. Initially, Grammarly was to be a program for universities to teach their students English; however, sales were considered slow because universities could buy it for years at a time, so they decided to sell the product directly to the end user. They started the project in the Western world because, according to Alex Shevchenko, "...unlike Ukrainian universities, Western educational institutions are very open to new technologies." At the same time, Lytvyn and Shevchenko decided to target customers who use English in everyday life, rather than English learners.
In early 2018, a researcher at Google discovered a "high severity" vulnerability in the extension that Grammarly Inc had developed for a couple of major web browsers. The issue report said that "any website can login to grammarly.com as you and access all your documents and other data." A few hours after being notified of the vulnerability, Grammarly released an update to fix the issue, which the Google researcher described as "a really impressive response time." Despite the severity of the bug, Grammarly maintains that they found no evidence of any user data being compromised.
Grammarly has been criticized for incorrect suggestions, ignorance of tone and context, and reduction of writers' freedom of expression.