Google Cloud Next UK: G Suite Gains New Assistive Features

Google has revealed new assistive features in G Suite to help businesses focus on the issues that matter most to them.

Google announced the development at the Google Cloud Next UK event currently being held at ExCel in London.

The new assistive features in G Suite utilise artificial intelligence (AI) in order to make people more productivity in the workplace, according to Google.

Google Docs

The G Suite productivity package had its roots in the consumer sector, but it is being increasingly used by businesses.

Earlier this year Google said that the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as new tools, meant that it had to raise the price for users around the world.

Google of course introduced Gmail – its first cloud-native productivity app – more than a decade ago now. But since that time it has continuously added new tools and indeed new capabilities to its Office 365 rival. Indeed, G suite currently comprises Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Hangouts and other services.

Google had renamed ‘Google Apps for Work’ as ‘G Suite’ in late 2016 as it sought to offer a uniform solution to both consumers and businesses. That move came after it also rebranded all of its cloud services under the ‘Google Cloud’ banner.

And today Google has added more assistive features in Google Docs, as well enhancing Google Assistant with more functionality for businesses.

Google Docs for example is gaining more assistive writing features, with the addition of AI-powered capabilities within Docs to make it faster and easier for people to create high-quality, content.

This has seen Google bringing Smart Compose to Google Docs. This feature was actually introduced to Gmail last year, but now it has been rolled out across the productivity suite as a beta. It uses Google AI to suggest complete sentences as emails and documents are drafted.

And with the rise of grammer-correcting apps such as Grammarly, Google is also offering its own solution to help users cut back on grammatical and spelling errors.

Google Docs will apparently start using cutting-edge, neural network technology to power grammar suggestions in the coming weeks.

“The neural network approach has proven to help individuals catch even more errors in internal experiments,” said Google. “In addition, we’re soon bringing spelling autocorrect to Docs. Using the power of Google Search, this intelligent feature constantly learns new words or phrases that become part of the English language from search to inform spelling suggestions in documents, just as it does already in Gmail.”

Google is also extending its machine-learning based spelling suggestions to recognize commonly used words from a person’s business domain to inform recommendations. For example, if an organisation has an internal project name or acronym that’s commonly used, Docs will not only stop underlining such terms, but will also suggest corrections when these terms are misspelled.

Google Assistant

But it is not just Google Docs that is being upgraded. Google is also expanding the power of the Google Assistant for G Suite Businesses via a beta program.

For example it can manage your calendar while on the move. Google Assistant will manage scheduling in Google Calendar, even if a person is commuting to work or out at lunch. A person can ask the Assistant to read their calendar, create events, cancel events, or even reschedule events.

Google Assistant will also send quick messages and dial into calls hands-free. A person can say things like, “Hey Google, join my next meeting” or “Hey Google, send an email to my next meeting”.

Google Assistant has also been tweaked to deliver a more seamless meeting experience, as it will be available in meeting rooms with Asus Hangouts Meet Hardware kit.

So instead of clicking into meetings to join them, people can say voice commands to the Assistant to join a meeting, exit a meeting, or even make a phone call. This functionality is available in the Hangouts Meet hardware via the Google Assistant beta.

And lastly Google Assistant has been upgraded to increase accessibility in meeting rooms. For example people can say a voice command, such as “Hey, Google, turn on spoken feedback,” to use accessibility features without having to find the button to turn them on.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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