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By Samantha Fecteau • January 11, 2019

What’s Hot on G Suite? G Suite News and Feature Updates for a Productive New Year

Itching to hear the latest in feature announcements and G Suite news to start off the year? You’re in luck. Google continues to announce important new updates to its productivity and collaboration suite in an effort to help organizations optimize creativity and find better ways to work effectively and securely. You may have already noticed some changes in your Gmail following recent releases these past months.

But what exactly are these new features all about, and what can we expect in the months to come? Here’s a rundown of some of the most recent and upcoming changes on G Suite and how they might impact your daily use and overall productivity.

The time savers

Smart Reply in Hangouts Chat

You’re probably already be familiar with Gmail’s new Smart Reply feature. Basically, it uses machine learning to identify messages which most likely need responses and suggests three different reply options that may be appropriate for the context, saving you time when typing out repetitive emails. This feature is coming soon to Hangouts Chat in an ongoing effort to bring assistive writing tools to all of G Suite. Smart Reply for Hangouts Chat will soon be available to all G Suite users.

Google Assistant: Voice commands for Hangouts Meet

For many, setting up meetings remains a pain point and source of time loss. Google is making a concerted effort to simplify complications linked to meeting administration by bringing voice-enable artificial intelligence used on tools like Google Assistant to meeting hardware. The new voice command feature within Hangouts Meet allows you to connect to a video meeting in seconds using a vocal command. This will allow users to say things like, “Hey Google, start the meeting.” And this is just the beginning. The feature will be available soon this year, and Google plans to add additional commands over time.

The task simplifiers

View Google Calendar attachments in Hangouts Meet

With this new feature, you can access and view any attachments included in your Google Calendar event directly from within your Hangouts Meet video conference. These attachments are available both on web and Meet mobile apps.

Share files more easily with non-Google accounts in Drive Beta

Simplified collaboration is the foundation of Google Drive, where multiple users can view, comment, and suggest edits to documents. Organizations often work on documents with external vendors, partners, contractors, and customers, but until now, it was possible only to share Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides with someone using a Google account. This has been a barrier, in some cases, to optimal collaboration. Luckily, Google has a solution, with its new Drive beta feature.

G Suite users on the beta will be able to share documents with external collaborators using non-Google accounts. Access is secured using pin codes, so your files won’t end up in the wrong hands. File owners remain in complete control, and can revoke access of any user, at any time. The new feature is pretty simple to use, and can help change the way you collaborate with external users, but in order to use it right away, G Suite Admins must fill out this form and apply for early access.

If this feature strikes your fancy, check out AOBox, the AODocs app that takes secure collaboration with non-Google users even further. This product allows external users to access content using their non-Google identity with a single sign on.

The Security Optimizers: Updates for Admin

Google also rolled out a series of security-themed updates to G Suite, which impact only admin accounts who now have access to new features in their respective security alert centers. The alert center provides a comprehensive view of essential security-related notifications, alerts, and actions across G Suite, and the improvements will help G Suite admins get more insights and effectively manage alert notifications.

Data export initiated alert

Perhaps the most useful security feature rolled out this start of the year is a security alert that triggers when a “data export” operation is initiated for a business domain’s data. This type of operation usually takes place in one of two scenarios: when an admin is performing a backup, or when an attacker is attempting to export and steal mass amounts of information via a compromised account. This alert will give the legitimate admin account owner enough time to spot and investigate the export and detect and deter any security breaches.

Alert deletion option

Google also rolled out an alert deletion option, which allows users to delete alerts with the possibility of recovering them within 30 days, allowing admins to reinstate or investigate deleted alerts. This feature can be useful in the case of admin account compromises, where the attacker might delete security alerts before the real admin sees them.

More Gmail phishing alerts

Another new security-focused feature included in the latest roll-out of G Suite updates is improved phishing detection for Gmail accounts managed through G Suite admin console. Google is leveraging machine learning to generate alerts on any suspicious incoming mail in Gmail. These alerts will notify admins in the event of malware or phishing when an email is delivered. Admins in G Suite Enterprise domains can then investigate and remove suspicious emails directly.

For more details on releases and rollouts, check out the G Suite updates blog. For tips and tricks and general info on the importance of security, or how to effectively protect your sensitive data in the Cloud, check out our 3-part series on document security here, here, and here.