Updates to Google Sheets introduces machine learning and more

Sorting through row upon row of data can be overwhelming, particularly when you don’t have an adequate search function to help you find what you need. Fortunately, in the case of Google Sheets, recent improvements have made it much easier to make sense of large and complex spreadsheets. Thanks to new machine learning features, Google Docs users can now make natural-language queries to visualise their data.

Introducing the ‘Explore’ feature

Google has long been at the forefront of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and the last couple of months have seen various appearances of this cutting-edge technology across the G Suite set of applications. Back in May, for example, Google introduced the Smart Reply feature for automatically suggesting responses to email messages based on the contents of the email and the user’s previous choices.

The tech giant has now integrated machine learning capabilities into its popular Google Sheets app. By overhauling the Explore feature introduced back in September, users can now ask questions about their data and have the app automatically build relevant charts for them. This should prove enormously useful when you want to quickly get a visual overview of data in a spreadsheet.

The update means you spend less time using the Explore feature to build charts. Instead, if it doesn’t display the chart you want, all you need to do is use a conversational query to ask the app to build a specific chart for you. You can ask the app to create different types of charts, such as histograms and line charts, followed by a natural-language description of the data you want to visualise. For example, a query might look something like, “Show me a line chart of last week’s sales.”

Improved data synchronisation

Thanks to improved data synchronisation, users no longer need to manually update tables and charts in different apps. It’s now possible to instantly synchronise data between Sheets, Docs and Slides. Although introduced last year, the ability to instantly synchronise data at the touch of a button will be especially useful in conjunction with the overhauled Explore feature in Google Sheets.

Users can link data fields in Docs and Slides so that when one is updated, the changes are automatically reflected in the other. All you need to do is copy and paste the data from the spreadsheet into a document of presentation. Whenever you change the data in Sheets, you can update it instantly in Docs or Slides simply by hovering your mouse over the chart and clicking the Update button.

Accompanying Google’s machine learning and data synchronisation features is an improved overall experience when creating, editing, and sharing charts. Also of note, there is a new sidebar that you can use to choose colours and add extra trendlines to existing data. Sheets also supports new chart types, including 3D charts, which you can build using the newly supported natural-language queries.

Improved usability

As a cloud-based software as a service, Google Docs is constantly improving, so you may notice some other new features in the Sheets app. Among them are more keyboard shortcuts, an overhauled printing interface and additional spreadsheet functions to help advanced users better isolate and sort data. In fact, there are now more than 400 functions in Google Sheets.

Working with some of the biggest and most popular cloud providers in the world, Damson Cloud is very familiar with the constantly evolving G Suite set of apps and services. If you would like to learn how we can help drive your business forward by building a cutting-edge IT infrastructure, give us a call today.