Google added several new features to G Suite Wednesday in hopes of convincing users to rely on its enterprise software tool for more than just email and file management.
The most interesting new feature is kind of old, since Google introduced it last year at Google Cloud Next, but Hangouts Chat is now generally available. Hangouts Chat is a lot like Slack or Atlassian’s Stride, a group communications tool designed both for casual chat and project-based collaboration that promises to work seamlessly with Google’s other tools, such as Docs or Calendar. Hangouts Chat also allows users to launch group video chats through Hangouts Meet, which has been generally available since last year.
Google also added two new features to Docs and Calendar based around artificial intelligence. Calendar can now automatically select the most appropriate conference room for an upcoming meeting based on the number and location of participants, previous uses of that room, and the equipment present in that room. And Docs gains Google’s Quick Access technology, which (as shown above) will present Docs users with suggestions for relevant documents much the same way it suggests relevant documents in the Google Drive interface.
The new features sound a lot like a list compiled internally by Googlers over the last year as they put Hangouts Chat and the new AI tools through their paces. There are a lot of options these days if you’re looking for a web tool that will let your company or organization collaborate, and finding the right one for your team is a pretty important part of the modern workplace.
In addition to Slack and Stride, Microsoft launched its Teams product last year and released a big update for it earlier this year. There are also project-management tools like Trello or Asana looking for a piece of this pie.
Earlier this month, Google disclosed G Suite revenue for the first time; sort of. The company said that its cloud group is doing $1 billion in revenue a quarter, but that number is split between Google Cloud and G Suite, and Google isn’t breaking that number down any further as of yet.