Category Archives: Apps Feed Blog

The feed from the Google Apps team

Improving real-time collaboration in Google Docs for assistive technology users

Quick launch summary 

It’s now easier for users of assistive technologies, like screen readers and Braille displays, to keep track of real-time updates made by collaborators in a document. With live edits, you can view a periodically updated summary of collaborator changes in a convenient sidebar. In Google Docs we believe that collaboration works best when it works for everyone.

New edits made by collaborators appear in the live edits sidebar.


To see live edits, open the Accessibility settings by going to Tools > Accessibility settings and check “Turn on screen reader support.” Then, select “Show live edits” from the Accessibility menu. To learn more, see this article in our Help Center.

Helpful links

Availability

Rollout details

G Suite editions
  • Available to all G Suite editions.

On/off by default? 
  • This feature will be available by default and can be enabled in the settings of Google Docs.


Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Improved as-you-type spelling and grammar correction in Gmail

What’s changing

We're introducing new spelling and grammar correction capabilities for Gmail to help you compose emails quickly with confidence.

As you type your message, Gmail will use artificial intelligence to make smarter spell-check suggestions while also detecting potential grammar issues. For some common spelling mistakes, we've also added as-you-type autocorrection for improved accuracy. Read more here about how grammar suggestions work.
Autocorrection of common spelling errors

Detecting spelling and grammar mistakes as you type


Who’s impacted

End users

Why you’d use it

If you're working against deadlines to write a lot of emails daily, correct spelling and grammar probably isn’t top of mind. These capabilities can also help you write and edit with more confidence if you’re a non-native speaker. With our AI-first approach, you can communicate smarter and faster, without sweating the small stuff.

How to get started


  • Admins: No action required.
  • End users: No action required. All suggestions and corrections take place automatically as you type. If you’d like to disable this feature, follow the steps in this Help Center article.

Additional details

You’ll now see inline spelling and contextual grammar suggestions in your draft emails as you type. If you’ve made a grammar mistake, a squiggly blue line will appear under the phrase as you write it. You can choose to accept the suggestion by clicking it.

When an auto-correction takes place, we’ll temporarily underline the corrected change so you can easily identify and undo the correction if you’d like. For now, autocorrect is currently only available in English.

Helpful links



Availability

Rollout details


G Suite editions

  • Available to all G Suite editions

On/off by default?

  • This feature will be ON by default and can be disabled by the end user in Gmail settings.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Create shortcuts in Drive with a new beta

What’s changing 

We’re launching a new beta that allows you to create shortcuts in Drive, making it easy to reference and organize files and folders outside of a given shared drive.

To learn more and express an interest in this beta, see here. We’ll begin accepting domains into this program in the coming weeks.


Who’s impacted 

Admins and end users


Why you’d use it 

Shortcuts are pointers to files that are stored in another folder or in another drive—like a shared drive or another user’s drive—that make it easy to surface content without creating copies of files.

For example, if Paul in marketing shares a document from his team’s shared drive with the entire sales team, Greta in sales can create a shortcut to that document in her own team’s shared drive. Previously, because documents can’t be owned by two shared drives, Greta would need to create a copy of the document for her team’s shared drive, which could then quickly become out of date. 



Additionally, the existing “Add to My Drive” option will be replaced with “Add shortcut to Drive”. Note that files currently living in two locations in My Drive will continue to do so at this time (e.g. those that you’ve added to your My Drive previously).

How to get started 


  • Admins: Admins can express interest in the Google Drive shortcuts beta here. We’ll begin accepting domains into the program in the coming weeks. 
  • End users: Once this feature is enabled for your domain, to create a shortcut: 
    • In Docs, Sheets, and Slides files, you’ll see a new “Add a shortcut to this file in Drive” button next to the “Star” button at the top. 
    • From there, you can select where in your Drive you want the shortcut to appear. From Google Drive, you can right click on a file and select “Add shortcut to Drive” or drag and drop an item into a folder in My Drive. 

Additional details 

You can create a shortcut for the following content types:

  • Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets files 
  • JPGs, PDFs, and Microsoft Office files 
  • Folders 

Shortcuts are visible to everyone who has access to the folder or drive containing the shortcut. Note that creating a shortcut does not mean sharing access to a file or folder.

Helpful links 



Availability 

G Suite editions 

  • Available to all G Suite editions


Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Admins can now see and edit user recovery information

What’s changing 

G Suite admins can now view and edit their users’ recovery information, such as backup email addresses and linked phone numbers. We also use this information to verify login requests and increase account security. By making sure your users have accurate and up-to-date information you can help make their accounts more secure.

Who’s impacted 

Admins only.

Why you’d use it 

This feature was developed based on customer feedback. Security and recovery information is important for many account verification processes, such as login challenge. To learn more about how adding recovery information can significantly increase the security of your account, see this blog post.

Giving admins the ability to view and edit this information will mean they ensure more accounts have up-to-date recovery information, and increase the accuracy of the recovery information attached to G Suite accounts. This will help:

  • Make it easier for users to access their account if locked out. 
  • Increase challenges and identification of suspicious login attempts to help to keep malicious actors out. 
  • Enable admins to provide direct support to users who are locked out of their account. 


You can still add employee ID as a login challenge for extra security as well.

How to get started 


  • Admins: There are three ways admins can currently manage recovery information: 
    • Individual user accounts: Go to Admin Console > Users > Individual User > Security > Recovery information > Edit. You’ll be able to edit individual user recovery information directly. 
    • Bulk user upload tool (CSV): Use the bulk upload tool at Admin Console > Users to update in bulk. See the edit accounts with a spreadsheet section of this Help Center article for details. 
    • API: Use the Admin SDK Directory API
  • End users: No action needed, but can add recovery information by going to myaccount.google.com


Helpful links 




Availability 

Rollout details 



G Suite editions 
Available to all G Suite editions.

On/off by default? 
This feature will be ON by default.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Use the collaborative tools of G Suite alongside your LMS with the Assignments Beta

What’s changing

We’re announcing Google Assignments, which will be initially available in beta. Assignments is a relaunch of Course Kit and includes new features that improve assignment and grading workflows for instructors, like originality reports and rubrics. Overall, it delivers an improved, expanded, and more user-end focused experience.

End users can now use Assignments as a standalone companion that does not require an admin to turn on. Or, it can be used as an LTI tool within an LMS, which requires admin action. See more details below.

Who’s impacted

Admins and end users

Why you’d use it

Assignments lets you quickly and securely create, analyze, and grade coursework, while empowering students to learn more effectively using the collaborative tools of G Suite for Education.

If you currently use Classroom, you already have access to the features and capabilities of Assignments, including our new originality reports. For all other users, Assignments gives you access to these features as a compliment to your school’s LMS.

How to get started

There are two ways to access Assignments: as a standalone companion to your LMS, with minimal set up required; or, as an LTI tool integrated with your LMS.
  • Admins:
    • G Suite for Education admins can express interest in the Assignments Beta here.
    • Assignments is available as an LTI tool which can be used within your LMS.
    • Assignments is an improved and expanded version of Course Kit, so if you’re already in the Course Kit Beta, you’ll automatically have access to Assignments.
  • End users:
    • End users can express interest in the Assignments Beta here, no additional setup is required. 
    • You can start using Assignments from your Google app menu or at assignments.google.com. Visit our Help Center for detailed instructions on getting started with Assignments. 

Additional details

Assignments is built to Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards, making it compatible with any LMS that supports LTI version 1.1 or higher. This allows for instructors to share links to student work directly from Assignments through their LMS and export grades to Google Sheets or as a CSV file for input into their LMS.

Helpful links

Availability

G Suite editions
  • Available to G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education
  • Not available to G Suite Basic, G Suite Enterprise, G Suite Business, and G Suite for Nonprofits
Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Originality reports for Google Classroom and Google Assignments launching to beta

What’s changing

We're opening a beta for originality reports. The feature scans a student's work for matches across billions of web pages and books, which can make it easier for instructors to evaluate the academic integrity of work and provide constructive feedback to the student. Originality reports can be used within Google Classroom and Google Assignments.

Note that Google Assignments is an improved and expanded version of Course Kit. If you’re already part of the Course Kit beta, you’ll automatically have access to Assignments.

Who’s impacted

Admins and end users

Why you’d use it

We've heard from instructors that they frequently use Google Search to check if student work is authentic and that they spend a lot of time giving feedback about missed citations and improper paraphrasing. This  feature makes that process more efficient and effective by integrating the power of Search into our feedback and grading tools.

Additionally, this feature gives students real-time feedback about issues before they turn in a document, giving them the opportunity to improve their work and learn from their mistakes before final submissions.

How to get started

  • Admins: Admins can express interest in the originality reports beta for Classroom here. All Assignments beta users will automatically have originality reports. To express interest for the Assignments beta, see here.
  • End users: Once enabled in your domain, end users can turn originality reports on per assignment by checking the originality reports checkbox within the assignment creation process.


Additional details

Once the feature is generally available, instructors will be able to access originality reports at no charge for up to three assignments in each course they teach. Schools that would like unlimited access can upgrade their instructors to G Suite Enterprise for Education.  During the beta, all instructors can use originality reports as much as they would like, at no additional charge.

Regardless of what G Suite for Education edition their instructor is using, students will only be able to create reports up to three times per assignment when enabled by their instructor. This applies to the beta and when the feature becomes generally available.

If your domain has turned on the Assignments LTI tool, you can also use originality reports within Google Assignments in your LMS. Note that when new coursework is set up within Assignments, you’ll need to click the checkbox to add originality reports to the assignment.

While this feature is in beta, originality reports will only work for Google Docs and will only be available in English.

Helpful links

Availability

G Suite editions
  • Available to G Suite for Education and G Suite Enterprise for Education
  • Not available to G Suite Basic, G Suite Business, G Suite Enterprise, and G Suite for Nonprofits

On/off by default?
  • Once accepted into the beta, originality reports are available to all Classroom users and can be turned on at the assignment level. 
  • This feature is available to Assignments beta users automatically and turned on at the assignment level.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

New fonts intended to help improve reading speed now available in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Quick launch summary

The Google Fonts team has teamed up with Thomas Jockin to create a series of fonts that are aimed at improving reading speed. To learn more about the research behind this initiative, see here for more details.



These fonts take into account typographical factors, such as size and spacing, that the font developers hope will improve reading speed. This can be particularly helpful for educators who want to leverage new tools that can improve reading among their students, especially those who are sensitive to visual crowding.

We now offer eight different Lexend font families that have varied widths and spacing, so users can choose the font style that’s best for their reading speed.

To access these fonts in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides:

  • From the Font menu in the toolbar, select “More fonts”.
  • Then, search for Lexend and select the fonts to add them to your saved fonts. These will now appear in the “My fonts” list and in the Font menu in the toolbar. 

Availability

Rollout details

  • These fonts are already available to both Rapid and Scheduled domains.

G Suite editions

  • Available to all G Suite editions

On/off by default?

  • These fonts will be available by default.


Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Edit and open jams on Jamboard more easily

What’s changing 

We’re making some updates to Jamboard to make it easier to jam on all your devices. Specifically you may notice:

  • An improved editing experience on Jamboard devices, including a redesigned toolbar and framebar, a new quick-access menu, and new gestures to select objects. 
  • Simpler ways to open jams from your computer or on Jamboard devices. 

See below for more details, or see our Help Center for the full list of changes. You can also use this guide to learn how to use Jamboard, including the new features outlined in this post.

Who’s impacted 

End users

Why you’d use it 

These updates will make it easier for all users to visualize their ideas and collaborate through jams. This should help unlock your team’s creative potential by bringing more ideas together on a range of platforms, and making it easier to continue jamming in later meetings, brainstorms, and working sessions.

How to get started 




Additional details 

Use this guide to get more details and learn how to use the toolbar, framebar, and other new features outlined in this post.

An improved editing experience on Jamboard devices 

  • An updated toolbar on Jamboard devices features new and rearranged options, which make it easier to find and use popular editing controls including undo/redo, text colors, and more. 
  • The framebar has been redesigned. Tap the frame icon at the top of the Jamboard, and an expanded view of the frames in your jam will make it easy to move between frames. 
  • You can quick-select an object by tapping it with two fingers, rather than long-pressing as you would have before. This was changed in response to strong user feedback that it was too easy to accidentally lift objects while writing on them. 
  • A new overflow menu will make it easier to find more editing functions when you have an object selected. 


Updated toolbar and framebar on Jamboard devices 


Simpler ways to open jams from your computer or on Jamboard devices 

  • You can now use your computer to easily open a jam on a Jamboard using the Jamboard name. Simply open the jam on your computer, click “Open on a Jamboard,” then search by Jamboard name. To make this easier, we added the name of the Jamboard to the screensaver on Jamboard devices so it’s quick to open jams when you’re in sight of a Jamboard. See below for more details on how this works. 
  • You can no longer share a Jam by creating a share-code from your computer. Instead, you can share a jam using the standard G Suite Share button, and you can open Jams on Jamboard using the search by Jamboard name feature described above. 
  • We’ve updated the ‘open a jam’ instructions in the main menu on Jamboard devices. The new instructions make it easier to use the search, nearby, and code options to open a jam. See our Help Center for more information on how to open an existing jam on Jamboard.


Helpful links 




Availability 

Rollout details 



G Suite editions 
Available to all G Suite editions

On/off by default? 
This feature will be ON by default.


Stay up to date with G Suite launches

All classes moving to Google Classroom with the Classwork Page in September

What’s changing

Last year, we introduced a new version of Classroom that provides additional features, including a Classwork page to help teachers better organize assignments. Newly created classes automatically include this Classwork page, with the option for instructors to revert classes back to the version of Classroom without Classwork.

The previous version of Classroom (without the Classwork page) is deprecated and will be discontinued on September 4, 2019. This means that new classes will be created using the version of Classroom that includes the Classwork page—instructors will no longer have the option to revert to the version without Classwork. In addition, all classes still using the previous version will be automatically converted to the version of Classroom that includes the Classwork page on September 4.

Why it’s important

Any class materials that exist in the Class Settings page will not be carried over, however instructors can create the same experience in the new Classroom by adding the same materials to the Classwork page. Note that you’ll still be able to access these materials, excluding links to YouTube content, via Google Drive.


 How to get started

  • Admins: Instructors will be notified of this change via in-product notifications starting in August, but we recommend you also prepare them for the update.
  • End users: Instructors should add any materials that previously existed on the Class Settings page in the original version of Classroom to the Classwork page in the new version of Classroom.  

Additional details

For more information and resources on Google Classroom for your instructors, check out our Help Center and Teacher Center. Your instructors can also view this video on how to create resources in the Classwork page using topics.

Helpful links



Stay up to date with G Suite launches