Google Apps a year in review 2015

Nothing stands still in the Google for Work ecosystem, especially when it comes to their apps which are constantly evolving and being updated regularly. These changes could be anything, from an update to the Admin Control Panel to a whole new service aimed at improving how you interact with the technology. So it’s well worth keeping up with what’s going on as a new Google Apps feature could really have a positive impact on your company’s productivity. 2015 saw Google Apps carry out a range of updates to current apps with a particular focus on mobility, which is great for those of us who have to work on the go. We have put together a roundup of some of the best Google Apps features released in 2015 so you can keep up to date and perhaps discover more ways to boost your productivity.

So let’s take a look at some of the more useful apps, add ons and features that were released over the last 12 months.

There’s a new single window interface for the Hangouts App on the web
Hangouts has very much become central to communication and collaboration in Google Apps. The communications service, which integrates text, voice and video chats is not only has a great way to communicate across an organisation, but also with customers and partners too. Until recently, you’ve needed a Google+ profile to use many of Google’s services including Hangout. But now the communications hub as its own location at hangouts.google.com and you can log in and use the services using only your Google Apps account. This gives you access to all your contacts and you can video call, or message them in the same way you would using the normal Hangouts app.

An inbox for everyone

Inbox by Gmail is aimed at offering people a radical new approach to their managing the high volume of email being received. It allows you to treat your inbox and emails like a “to do” list. After all, some emails are more important than others and require you to take different types of action.

Some emails you can postpone answering and some demand urgent attention. Inbox allows you to assign classes to your email, pinning them, so they don’t escape your attention, letting them “snooze” or sit on the back burner or mark them as done. When you snooze an email, you can get reminders at set times so you don’t forget to deal with it.

Inbox also uses machine learning for a host of features such as prioritising and categorising mail for you and even suggesting reminders or replies to emails for you. Smart Reply is a quick reply feature that allows you to respond instantly to emails using one of three short replies, chosen based on the text in the original email. Assists in inbox suggests reminders for you based on the email you received.

The more you use Inbox, the more it learns and the better it gets. It really is like having a personal assistant for your mailbox.

Until recently you had to be invited to get Inbox by Gmail and most users found it to be very useful as a way of decluttering their email and dealing with tasks. It has now been rolled out to everyone including Google Apps users. Please note that your Administrator needs to enable Inbox in the control panel. Once Inbox is enabled for your organisation, you just need to download the iOS or Android mobile app and sign in on your mobile device or use the browser version found at inbox.google.com.

[code-snippet name=”cta5″]

Restore deleted events in Google Calendar

Google Drive and Gmail makes it easy to restore even deliberately trashed items. It is only recently however, that the same feature has been built into Google Calendar. Prior to this feature, once an event was deleted it was gone for good. Now the calendar app will have its own trash folder so you can restore events, both one-off as well as recurring events.

The trash feature is easy to use but hard to find. To locate it, go to the drop down menu for any calendar in the “My Calendars” (though you can also do this from the main settings). Here you’ll see a new “View bin” option under each calendar. You will then see a list of appointments you have deleted in the last thirty days with the option to restore or delete it forever as and when you please. If it is a shared calendar, other members will receive an email telling them that you’ve taken out the trash and administrators will be able to track events that are restored or removed.

Prevent Printing, Downloading, and Copying of Docs

Last July, Google released a significant addition to sharing permissions in Google Drive. You now have more control over what the recipient can do with the document, spreadsheet, or presentation you share with them via Google Drive. Specifically, you can prevent users from downloading, printing or creating a copy of the file. To use this feature, simply click on the share button in your doc, and under the advanced options there is a owner settings box that gives you two options at the bottom

  • Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people
  • Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers

Ticking these stops collaborators from being able to download and print your document, or add new collaborators. This feature is perfect for when the file you are sharing contains sensitive information that you don’t want to be distributed broadly. Do remember though that your document is not completely protected. Whilst the recipient is prevented from downloading, printing or copying the file, they can still taken screenshots of the document.

Of course, the team here at Damson Cloud are big fans of Google and its apps and add-ons. So if you want to know any more about how Google apps can help your business, why not drop us a line. We’d love to be of service.