I used to love Grammarly, the helpful browser plugin that analyses what you type and calls out your poor spelling and grammar choices — for you to fix or ignore, depending on what kind of a writer you are. I ended up uninstalling it after a few months because it seemed to be a bit of a resource hog, and I found that Chrome’s built-in spellcheck was all I really needed, anyway.
Found the culprit: the @Grammarly grammar checker plugin seems to be a memory, CPU, and bandwidth hog
— loydcase (@loydcase) July 4, 2018
More importantly, there has been a regular back-and-forth between Grammarly users and the company about what kind of window Grammarly has into your online life. The extension works by analysing what you type, after all. It collects this data, processes it, and (presumably) deletes it when it’s done. While that sounds innocent on paper, and Grammarly swears by its privacy practices, that’s still a healthy dose of trust you’ve giving to a company you know nothing about.
For all other text processed by Grammarly (i.e., anything not saved in the Grammarly Editor): After Grammarly processes your text, the text is disassociated from your account and deleted. (2/3)
— Grammarly (@Grammarly) February 22, 2019
Can you trade the convenience of a grammar-checking tool against the trustworthiness of a company that says it deletes the copious amount of data you send it? That all depends on your comfort level. (Even then, privacy-perfect companies can have… issues.)
Before you make your decision to stick with Grammarly, or leave, you should take a few moments to see what data Grammarly has collected about you. Request your personal data report, a process that isn’t automated per se, but instead goes through Grammarly’s regular support/ticketing system.
To Grammarly’s credit, it only took the company a few minutes for them to create my report and send it on over. Since I haven’t been using the service for some time, and I’ve never actually uploaded documents to store on Grammarly’s servers, I didn’t see any interesting data in it — no reams of stored text from old Facebook posts, or blogs, or any other content Grammarly’s add-on previously checked.
Instead, my personal data report mentioned when I created my account, which IP addresses I’ve used to log into it (and from which locations), a list of the Grammarly products I’ve used, and a quick blurb about my writing statistics.
If you’re a heavy Grammarly user, your report might have more pertinent information than mine, but you probably shouldn’t expect to see lots of secret, stored text. You’ll have to make your decision to stick with Grammarly without its insight, but that shouldn’t be difficult.