With the new rebrand of Google Apps, it’s clear that Google is taking on Microsoft and Office365 with G Suite. Competition is always good. With some of the new features Google announced for the platform, they’re looking to catch up to the big giant with some of the very popular features of Office365. Let’s explore a few of those features and talk about the differences of the platforms.
Before even touching on the features themselves, the underlying theme of all upcoming IT advancements is intelligence. Singular, uncoordinated tasks are a thing of the past. Using a bunch of different tools to tackle a bunch of those tasks isn’t an effective use of time or resources. Instead, software is using machine learning to better coordinate all the different moving pieces of your work day to give you “advice” and help you make smarter decisions (if AI doesn’t first).
The platform that makes your life simpler, more digestible, and coordinated will always be the winner. Both G Suite and Office365 are shooting for these goals, just in slightly different ways. Let’s dive into G Suite’s upcoming changes.
Chaos ensues without proper scheduling of meetings and deliverables. Google has always been great at allowing integration with a myriad of third party apps and platforms to manage calendar items for you. However, the calendar on its own wasn’t very smart.
Over the past 6 months or so the Google Calendar has been adding in the ability to see when colleagues and third parties are free on the Android app. While making the appointment you’ll see availability of invitees, when possible. This is being added on the iOS app as well the web calendar (at long last) by the end of 2016.
Those using Microsoft’s Exchange email either online or in Outlook have had this feature for years. This alone has been one feature that’s been a deal breaker when Exchange users evaluated Google Apps.
Google Drive has been around and used amongst many micro businesses for years (since 2012). The feature set has been best described as very basic. Compared to Microsoft’s OneDrive offerings or more robust solutions like our BCC Sync, it was somewhat of a joke for businesses needing compliance and advanced access controls.
Without a doubt, Google has heard the cry for better control to business files amongst teams. Hence, the creation of Team Drives. Essentially, “groups” of files can be shared and accessed by only the people within certain teams.
This feature likely won’t roll out until 2017 as it’s still in the preview and early adopter stages. Furthermore, Microsoft also has big advancements with OneDrive planned for the near future so Google will be playing catchup for quite some time.
G Suite Apps Get Smarter
Going back to the machine intelligence mentioned earlier, both companies are working to make their apps easier to use with their back end learning engines. Google knows that Microsoft Office has ruled the business world because of more advanced features and ease of templated or customizable layouts.
Google Sheets are now getting a handy helper in the Explore bar to the right of the sheet. You’ll be able to ask it whatever you’re looking for or what you’d like to do and the Google AI will attempt to get you the answer or do the thing desired. For example, you can ask “what color shirt sells the best?” and Sheets will figure out the proper formula based on data in the sheet for you. This is a triumph for all of us that only use spreadsheets when we absolutely have to.
Google Docs are also getting a helpful Explore bar that will show you relevant research information based on what you’re writing about The goal is to lessen the time you need to switch back and forth between apps/windows when digging for content to use.
Bear in mind, Microsoft rolled out similar updates to Office 2016 earlier in 2016. They’ve actually also added a feature called Editor that uses cloud intelligence to suggest changing text based on natural language processing. It doesn’t just flag the items with the red underline squiggly. It then provides explanations of why you might not want to say certain things or use the alternates provided. They have a team of linguists working on this one.
Lastly, Google Slides is getting a template overhaul with dynamic layout suggestions. Once again, this is delivered with the new Explore bar that will be available to the right of the content.
Seeing Google announce a roadmap for G Suite to compete, or at least reach parity, with Microsoft Office365 is a great thing for everyone. The race for assistance through data intelligence is on and small businesses everywhere will see this as a great win.
If your company needs assistance with picking the right vendor and moving things over, give us a call at Blue Collar Computing. We love to help our small business partners!