Google is giving its Apps for Work a refresh today, adding new features and renaming the entire collection into the simpler and decidedly more gangsta ‘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.”
Personally, I think ‘Google Apps for Work’ was just too confusing, since the term was often abbreviated to the vague ‘Google Apps.’ To be clear, G Suite is Google’s paid collection of apps, meant for business use and educational use, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts and more.
Meanwhile, Google’s entire gamut of cloud services will now fall under a new ‘Google Cloud‘ brand, including the aforementioned G Suite, Google Cloud Platform, new machine learning tools and APIs, and all of Google’s Android phones tablets and other devices that access the cloud.
Given Google is notorious for being terrible at naming things – remember ‘Google Play Music All Access’? – the new, simpler branding throughout is a welcome change.
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.
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.’
Sheets is now using AI (notice a trend?) to turn your layman 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 (okay, we get it) 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/hamburger 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.
Those updates are rolling out today, and Google says more are on the way.
Finally, Google is adding new collaboration options. Most notable is the new Drive for Teams, which is exactly what it sounds like.
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.
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.
Both Team Drives and the new Hangouts team experiences have been tested with a small subset of users, but will roll out to more businesses through Google’s Early Adopter Program – no word on when though.
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