Google has long been providing incredibly useful tools for small businesses. In addition to a powerful search engine for navigating the web, the company’s G Suite platform is a godsend for businesses that need to stay on top of their documents and communications. According to Reuters, the number of organizations paying for G Suite has grown to 4 million in the last 2 years, and the majority of those customers are small to medium-sized business.
We can expect this trend to continue, especially since in the past few months, Google has released a bunch of new features to spruce up its G Suite capabilities.
This post sheds light on these notable G Suite updates. Go through them below and see how you can use them in your business.
New Gmail features
Let’s start with Gmail, since it’s arguably the most commonly used program on the G Suite platform. Here are some of the cool new things you can do with Gmail.
Side panel for quick access to your tools
Google updated the look of its Gmail interface to include a side panel on the right-hand side of the page, where you can access tools such as Google Calendar and Tasks without leaving Gmail.
With the old interface, you would have to open up Calendar in a new tab to view your appointments or schedule a meeting. But with Gmail’s new sidebar, you can do all that right from your email interface.
The new Gmail also lets you add apps onto the side panel. Just click the plus (+) sign on the sidebar, and you’ll be taken to the G Suite Marketplace, where you can install apps such as Trello, DocuSign, Zoom, and more.
Snooze your emails
Can’t respond to an email immediately? The new Gmail now lets you snooze emails for a later date and time. When an email is snoozed, it moves out of your inbox and reappears on the date and time that you specified.
Let’s say you’re planning a business trip and want the hotel confirmation email to reappear in your inbox on the day of your trip. You can use Gmail’s snooze function to ensure that the message shows up right when you need it.
As a business owner, you’re likely busy with day-to-day tasks and don’t always have time to type email responses. This is where smart replies would come in. Depending on the message, Gmail might suggest responses that you can click and to your email (and edit if necessary).
Add email recipients with a plus sign
This feature is particularly handy when you’re addressing multiple individuals in an email. Let’s say you’re sending an email to several people and want to make sure that you don’t leave anyone out.
When you’re composing your message, simply mention someone’s name with a plus (+) or at (@) sign, and Gmail will automatically add them as a recipient.
The new Gmail lets you turn on confidential mode, a feature that can set an expiration date for your emails as well as revoke access to the message and its attachments.
Perfect for sending sensitive information (e.g., personal details, classified documents, etc.), emails sent using confidential mode also prevent recipients from forwarding, copying, downloading, and printing the contents of the message.
New Calendar features
If you and your team are using Google Calendar to manage your schedules, here are some of the recent releases you should check out:
Manage your personal and work times with ease
If you’re going on vacation or engaging in activities outside the office, you can select the “Out of office” option when adding a calendar entry. When you do this, Google will automatically decline meeting requests that take place within your out of office period.
The feature is quite intelligent. It can detect, based on your calendar entry, when you’re creating an event that takes place outside the office. For example, if you start typing “vacation” in the calendar entry field, Google will automatically select the “Out of office” option for you. (You can manually switch it back if necessary.)
Features to streamline rescheduling
Google also introduced a feature that allows attendees to propose alternative meeting times, which the event organizer can review and accept.
This feature streamlines communication between attendees and prevents too much back-and-forth when planning meetings.
Automatically generated meeting instructions
In May, Google announced a feature that automatically generates instructions on how to join a meeting. These instructions include details such as the link to the video call as well as a phone number and PIN for attendees who prefer to dial in.
This feature makes it easy for people who aren’t part of your organization to join your meetings, and it’s perfect for businesses who regularly schedule calls with clients or third party vendors.
New Docs, Sheets, and Slides features
Do you create word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations through G Suite? If so, the following new features will come in handy:
Grammar suggestions in Google Docs [Early Adopter Program]
Google started rolling out grammar suggestions in Docs to members of its Early Adopter Program (EAP). Here’s how it works: when the system detects a possible typo or grammar error, it underlines it in blue to signal that you might want to double check it. You can then right-click on the item to see a suggested correction.
If you’re not part of EAP, you can check out Grammarly, which is currently beta testing its software for Google Docs on Chrome. Do note, though, that the beta test is only available to Grammarly’s premium subscribers.
Quick Access feature
Quick Access is a feature in Docs that uses artificial intelligence to recommend relevant files (i.e., documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations) on the right-hand side of the page. You can access it by clicking the “Explore” icon at the bottom right of the document.
It’s a handy capability that makes it easy to find files that are relevant to the document that you’re working on. Let’s say you’re on Google Docs writing your latest company blog post. When you launch Quick Access, the system might recommend your latest feature list or the most recent company presentations from your Google Drive folder.
Getting the most out of G Suite requires keeping a close eye on new product releases and updates. In addition to reading blogs such as this one, be sure to visit (or even bookmark) the official G Suite blog to get the latest info about new features and enhancements to the platform.