Google has just rebranded its “apps for work” program and now the set of apps aimed at business are neatly packed in a G Suite. The company has also announced several upgrades for its current apps and rolled out a team-friendly version of Google Drive.
Just for clarity’s sake, Google has not replaced any of its various existing products or services. The company also hasn’t announced any new apps. The company did that a couple of weeks ago if you’re interested.
All you need to know is that, yesterday, Google announced the company’s decision to rebrand its decade-old service called Google Apps for Work one more time.
Google Apps for Work was actually the result of another rebranding effort from Google. The service was previously known as Google Apps for Your Domain.
Now, Google Apps for Work will be called “G Suite.”
Not the most formal of names for an online service but the name does sound more in touch with the modern use of online services.
At the same time, the company also stated that it would bring a few upgrades and enhancements to the company’s existing services related to the new G Suite, a Google Cloud product.
Google apps such as Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Google Slides, Google Hangouts and Google Calendar along with others will all get augmentations which will enhance user experience further.
Why did Google decide to call Google Apps for Work, G Suite?
According to Google, the new name (G Suite) is more relevant to the company’s mission of helping people all around the world to work more efficiently and creatively together.
Does the G Suite sound less like an online product and more like a anime mech-armor? Possibly.
Google’s director of product management for the G Suite, Ryan Tabone, in an interview with TechCrunch, said that Google, as a company, wanted to give out a definite message to potential enterprise users that the G Suite was an integrated set of tools for users to get their work done quickly and more efficiently.
Google also said that the G Suite was not simply a collection of individual services being offered by Google Cloud.
Check out the video below that Google used as an introduction to the new G Suite.
Google made quite a bit of effort to emphasize the and highlight the increase in the use of machine intelligence.
Readers should know that Google has invested a lot of money in the machine intelligence industry. The company had made significant acquisitions in the field of machine intelligence over the last decade of so.
Needless to say, most of the services that are bundled in the G Suite, also make use of machine learning. Google hardly has a product out there that doesn’t utilize machine learning. The company has made progressive use of machine learning across most of its products especially the ones that are related to the G Suite.
As of this moment, Google uses the machine intelligence technology in a variety of products. Some of them include features in different products such as the photo recognition feature in Google Photos and the instant translation feature in Google Translate.
Google also introduced machine intelligence in Google Inbox last year with the inclusion of a new feature by the name of Smart Reply.
In other words, most of Google services, products, and features within those services and products are now powered by machine intelligence (which is sometimes interchangeably used with Artificial Intelligence along with Deep Learning).
Well, with yesterday’s announcement in effect, Google has now brought the power of machine intelligence to one more of its services. Google stated that the company would start to bring machine intelligence to more of its services and it would start those efforts by bringing the Artificial Intelligence feature to Google Drive.
The company introduced a new Google Drive feature which the company claims would save users about 50 percent of the average time it takes them to find the correct file while searching their Google Drive folders.
The new Google Drive feature is called Quick Access. However, it should be mentioned that Google announced the new feature for the Android version of Google Drive. Whether the desktop version of Google Drive would also benefit from the new feature was not made clear enough.
Google also said that the new Quick Access feature for Google Drive on Android will make actions such as searching for files redundant.
As a “replacement” for the conventional search feature, the new feature Quick Access will make use of machine intelligence to find the desired file for Google Drive users on Android.
In other words, machine learning will not be able to predict which file a user need before the user actually types the name of the file using the traditional search function.
The new Quick Access feature will also display the results of its search close to the top of the screen.
The machine learning technology will also be able to make intelligent guesses about the file users might need. It will utilize data regarding a user’s Google Drive activity along with the user’s routine communications with other team members or work colleagues and his/her everyday work patterns such as recurring group meetings or periodic reviews of forecasting spreadsheets.
At least that is what Google is hoping for and judging the company’s track record, there is very little chance of anything going wrong with eh new feature apart from the fact that some users might not want machines spying through their work stuff.
With that said, iOS users can rejoice as well as Google announced that Google Calendar’s Smart Scheduling feature which made its debut on the Android platform last year, would now be available to iOS users as well.
The Google Calendar Smart Scheduling feature will also be available to the web version of Google Calendar by the end of the year.
Just like the previously updated features, Google will also introduce the power of machine intelligence to the Google Calendar Smart Scheduling feature which will help the Google Calendar application to aid and suggest users suitable meeting times along with information regarding the availability of rooms which will be based on a user’s previous preferences and other observations.
These weren’t the only product/service improvements that were announced. Google’s other services which will now be able to rely on machine learning also include Google Sheets.
That’s right. Google Sheets will now be augmented with an Explore Feature. The Explore Feature in Google Sheets brings into play machine learning to let users enter their desired question in natural language.
To put it another way, Google Sheets will now harness the power of machine learning to translate any user’s question into a computer formula using Natural Language Processing. The software will then give the user an immediate answer to the asked question.
Tabone also pointed out that Google products with their new AI-enabled features were the fundamentals of what could become a basic business intelligence system.
He further continued and told TechCrunch that on an even more basic level, Google had found out that over 30 percent of the Google Sheets users did not understand how the various formulas worked.
He said that using Natural Language Processing, the new feature will enable Google Sheets users to bypass mathematical formulas and still extract a huge amount of value out of Google Sheets.
Perhaps it should also be mentioned that Google Docs will also get the new machine learning backed Explore feature. The new feature will facilitate Google Docs in order to suggest relevant topics to learn about.
By drawing on the new feature (Explore), Google Docs will also help users with recommendations on images to insert into their work. Google Docs will also enable users to discover more useful content.
Google also said that the new upgraded Docs will now point users to related documents in Drive as well.
Moreover, the Explore feature will also be incorporated into Google Slides. The upgraded version of Slides will provide suggestions to users in terms of the layout of their slides.
In order to make use of the new feature in Slides, users will only be required to insert an image into a slide and Slides will automatically offer related suggestions.
For clarity’s sake, Google currently does not inspect or study the content of any image. However, it does examine the color palate and the image resolution to calculate and then recommend the layout of the slide.
What About Google Team Drive?
Well, first off, unlike the previous announcements, this one isn’t related to rebranding or upgrading an existing product or service.
Team Drives is actually one of the many new features that Google announced yesterday. To be precise, Team Drives is the company’s latest product to help users get work down in a more streamlined manner.
As the name might suggest, Team Drives (which is basically an enhanced Google Drive) products essentially concentrate on managing content ownership.
It also helps out in sharing content on a higher level i.e team level. Team Drive brings new roles for different users which enable a high level of granular control over the relevant content.
The new product from the company, Team Drives, for all practical purposes basically provides teams cloud storage space that is shared between individual team members.
In the interview with TechCrunch, Tabone also noted that in order to come up with the new feature for Drive, Google had to revise and modify the technology stack that powered the cloud service, Drive.
Tabone was of the opinion that the technology industry as a whole did not focus on enabling teams to do their best work by encouraging fluid collaboration between individual team members.
Tabone said that the industry, in the beginning, concentrated primarily individual productivity rather than team output.
Perhaps this is also the reason why Google did not introduce this (the now obvious) capability into Drive earlier.
Nonetheless, Team Drives are now being offered by means of an Early Adopter Program. The Early Adopter Program is essentially a preview version of the new product. Google had earlier tested Team Drives with a small number of clients.
Similarly, any company can request Google for an access to the enhanced version of Google Hangouts as well. The Early Adopter Program for Google Hangouts basically allows organizations to use a revamped version of the product.
The new and improved Hangouts will not need any separate download or plugin. The enhanced version of Hangouts will be usable right out of the box and users will be able to join their relevant groups from any device.
Hangouts will also allow users to enter a group without the need of an account or even a data connection.
Hangouts’ new interface will now be able to manage up to 50 video participants. The new product from Google will also fuse with other Google services such as Calendar.
It will also come with other new features such as instant screen sharing and recording.
TechCrunch was also told that the team at Google was already planning ahead about other cool new features which it wanted to incorporate in Hangouts now that the basic version of the enhanced Hangouts was finally rolled out and the preliminary work was finished.
Tabone did not comment on the specifics of those new Google Hangout features but TechCrunch feels that the new features will be along the lines of automatic transcripts and call analytics.
Though it has to be mentioned that given the set of potential new features Google can possibly offer for the next version of Hangouts, there aren’t a whole lot of options left for the company aside from the two new potential features that were already mentioned.
What do you think about Google’s regular rebranding strategy? Do you find the name G Suite a bit out of place? IsTeam Drives actually an upgraded version of Drive?
Do let us know your thoughts by using the comments section below.
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