If Google's online services are part of your business plan, you'll need to get ready for Google Cloud. The newly-announced platform combines all of Google's cloud-based services – including the Google Cloud Platform, data analytics tools, Google Apps for Work, and even Android phones and Chromebooks – under a single umbrella.
It's not just a rebranding effort. Google says that the online infrastructure for those services is being retooled to suit the needs of business users at every level, from the self-employed to the world's largest enterprises. Among the biggest changes is the expansion of the Google Cloud Platform — which includes tools to help companies build and host apps and websites — to serve new geographic regions around the world.
And there are plenty of noteworthy changes that should interest smaller businesses, including a slew of updates for Google Apps for Work, now re-branded as G Suites. The G Suites collection includes Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Docs, Hangouts and more. Here's a quick rundown of the additions that have already been rolled out.
- Smarter storage: Google Drive will use special cues — like recent activity, scheduled meetings with colleagues and the time of day — to present files that you're likely to need when you first log in.
- Smarter scheduling: Google Calendar will be able to scan the schedules of all individuals invited to a meeting in order to find a time that works for everyone. It will also take into account information like available rooms and previous bookings.
- Smarter spreadsheets: Google Sheets will become more user friendly with the ability to create specialized formulas based on questions posed in natural language.
- Smarter documents and presentations: A sidebar in Google Docs and Google Slides will help you quickly find additional information, images and other related materials on the Web.