Google’s G Suite, the new name for what was previously called Google Apps for Work, is getting a couple of new productivity features today. The new features focus on supporting more of the existing workflows in larger companies and bringing more of Google’s smarts to these apps.
If you work in the kind of company where people like to assign work to other people, then this first new feature will get you excited:
1. Spend less time figuring out who owns what with Action Items
When you type something like “Andrea to schedule a weekly check-in” Docs will now automatically suggest that you create an action item and assign this to the right person. You can also create these action items manually, of course.
The automatic feature only works in Docs on the desktop, though, while manual assignments work in Docs, Sheets and Slides on desktop and mobile. Once you assign something to somebody, that person will get an email.
2. Spend less time searching for the files that need attention
Google now also makes it easier for you to see which action items have been assigned to you and which documents may need your attention. All the G Suite apps will now show a badge on files that have action items attached to them and when there are unresolved suggestions that others may have made to your files.
3. Spend less time building questions with smarter Forms
Google Forms is getting an update, too. Here, Google is also using some of its machine-learning expertise to make using this service a bit easier. It can now suggest responses based on your queries. Here is Google’s example for this: say you are setting up a form to ask about what size T-shirt they wear so you can distribute them at your next company event. Simply type that question into Google forms and it will suggest responses.
In addition, Forms users can now also prompt respondents to upload files (though this only works when you share a form within your domain).
4. Spend less time typing with a set of new voice commands
Last year, Google launched Voice typing in Docs on the web to help you capture ideas, big and small, without lifting a finger. Today, they’re adding more ways to format and customize content with commands for changing text color, deleting words, inserting links and comments, plus a number of other ways to format, hands-free.
5. Spend less time switching between apps to get things done
If your company has made the move to Slack, then the most important feature for you is likely that Google and Slack teamed up to make integrate Google’s productivity apps into Slack conversations. Simply click the + button next to the message box in a Slack chat and the menu will let you create a new document or import a file from Google Drive.
With the introduction of Explore, and more and more updates to products that build in machine intelligence, taking back time spent on mundane, repetitive tasks will only get easier with G Suite. Now, you can focus your energy on creative and strategic work, not busy work.
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