Google is giving its Apps for Work a refresh, adding new features and renaming the entire collection into ‘G Suite.’
Google says the new name better reflects its mission to “help people everywhere work and innovate together, so businesses can move faster and go bigger.”
Everything cloud-based—including the Google Cloud Platform, enterprise mobility, and even Chromebooks—are now part of the Google Cloud brand.
G Suite is Google’s paid collection of apps, meant for business use and educational use, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts and more. (Known as Google Apps for Work earlier)
G Suite Updates
Quick Access in Drive
There are a ton of new features coming to G Suite too. Google Drive for Android is getting a ‘Quick Access’ section that uses machine learning to predict what files you’re going to need when you open up the app, based off of your previous behavior. Google estimates it will shave 50 percent off of looking for the right file.
Quick Access predictions are based on an understanding of your Drive activity, as well as your interaction with colleagues and your workday patterns such as recurring team meetings or regular reviews of forecasting spreadsheets.
Smart scheduling in Google Calendar
Calendar can now use machine intelligence to automate picking times to set up meetings – even helping you choose the right room in your office. It will look at potential conflicts with your coworkers to avoid scheduling screw-ups too. This one was already available on Android, but is coming to iOS today and the web ‘soon.’
“Find a time” suggests meeting times and available rooms based on your preferences, which saves you lots of time and gets everyone together faster. Time and room suggestions are smart, too: They don’t just identify the first free slot in a grid, they also locate the next best slots as a back-up. For example, when Calendar doesn’t find availability for your preferred time, it then looks for conflicts across the group that are easier to resolve, such as recurring 1:1 meetings. And although “Find a time” makes smart suggestions, you’re always in control!
Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides makes work a breeze!
Sheets is now using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to turn your English requests into formulas through its ‘Explore‘ feature. Instead of wasting 10 minutes googling formulas, you can now ask things like “what are the best selling pizzas toppings” or “what was the total bagel revenue last month” for insights on your New York eatery.
In Slides, Explore uses machine learning also to dynamically suggest and apply design ideas, while in Docs, it will suggest backup research and images you can use in your musings, as well help you insert files from your Drive account.
Throughout Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can now recover deleted files on Android from a new ‘Trash’ option in the side menu. You can’t even do this on the web apps; you’d have to go to your Drive and open the trash from there.
Team Drives and a new Hangouts video meetings experience!
Instead of everyone just having their own drive account with files and folders they can share, Team Drives let entire teams have access to files. Admins can set access levels, and the new set up makes it easy to add and remove users without affecting the files contained.
Content ownership and sharing are managed at the team level, and new roles give more granular control over team content. Team Drives help streamline teamwork from end-to-end, from onboarding a new team member (add her to the team and she instantly has access to all of the work in one place) to offboarding a departing team member (remove him from the team and all of his work stays right in place), and everything in-between.
Meanwhile Hangouts is getting a new teams video call experience with support for up to 50 simultaneous video participants and the ability invite users without a Google account, and without requiring downloads or plugins.
These new features aim to bring the power of machine learning and natural language to the G Suite.
To sum things up, Quick Access in Google Drive will help you find relevant files based on your meetings and interactions with coworkers. Google Calendar is gaining new machine learning-based smarter scheduling, and Sheets is picking up a natural language query capability. Docs is picking up a new feature that helps find related documents and information, and Slides will offer new smart layouts based on photographs. These new features reflect the direction that the industry seems to be heading nowadays.
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