G Suite to Enabled Basic Mobile Management by Default This Year

Google G Suite

Google has announced that by the end of 2018, the basic mobile management feature on G Suite domains will be enabled by default.  The announcement comes as part of a series of announcement the company has made regarding data and device security.

When the change is enabled, it will require that all users of Android and iOS phones associated with a G Suite domain to have, at a minimum, a password or PIN to unlock their phones.  Without it, users will not be able to access G Suite associated apps and thus, the data associated with those apps.

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Google Continues to Tweak G Suite App Menus for Clarity

Google Docs New Break Menu

Over the past few months, Google has been making minor tweaks to the menus in various G Suite apps online.  Most of these efforts, with the biggest change coming last month, have been aimed at making it easier to navigate these menus and to be clear about what exactly you are doing with that menu option.

Today another round of menu tweaks started rolling out to all G Suite customers that further adjusts menus in Google Docs and Google Slides.  In their announcement, Google laid out the before and after menu views to help users find the difference.

For Google Docs, to add a line or page break, here are the changes:

  • Before: Insert > Page break or Column break
  • After: Insert > Break > Page break or Column break

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Google Bringing Accessibility Improvements to Sheets, Slides and Drawings

Google G Suite

Google has begun the process of rolling out several accessibility updates to Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Drawings.  The updates are all for the web-based versions of these G Suite solutions and are cloud-side changes that will be rolling out to all accounts over the course of the next couple of weeks.

First, Braille support has been added to Google Sheets.  Joining support that is already in Docs and Slides, within Sheets you will be able to use a Braille display to read and edit cell content as well as navigate between cells on a sheet.  Initially support for this will only be available on Chrome OS with the ChromeBox screen reader.  Google indicated in the release notes that they are working on support for other platforms and readers.

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Google Sets Dates for G Suite Customers to Get The New Google Calendar

Google Calendar Material Design

Google has announced the dates when G Suite customers will begin getting the new Google Calendar.  To this point, G Suite admins have been able to manually force the update on domains or to delay the release of the new Material Design calendar on their domains.  Now that is changing with several key dates coming up.

For domains that are in the Rapid Release schedule, users will start getting update next Monday, January 8th if their domain is set to automatic updating.  Users can still opt out, for now.  For those domains in the Scheduled Release bracket, you will get the update following Monday, January 15th.  Again, users can opt out for now.

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Google to Improve Menus in G Suite Online

Google Docs Online

Google has announced that they will be making some minor menu updates to some of the G Suite apps starting in January.  The updates are primarily focused on Google Docs and Google Slides with the idea being to make it easier for users to find certain menu settings.

The changes that Google outlined will be coming to the apps starting January 4, 2018 with the schedule release of the updates.  It should be noted that the changes that are coming are only for the online version of the apps.  Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides for Android and iOS are not impacted by this change.

As for the changes themselves, most of them are renaming of features and not necessarily moving them.  For example, in both Google Docs and Google Slides, “Lists” in the Format menu have been renamed to “Bullets and numbering”.

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Classic Google Calendar Interop Tool Shuttering in February 2018

Google Calendar Material Design

For those readers who administer a Google G Suite environment, take note of an announcement that Google made this week.  On February 28, 2018 the classic Google Calendar interop tool will be shuttered, meaning that you will need to be using the new tool which was announced back in July.

For those who aren’t familiar with this tool, it allows for the seamless coexistence of a Microsoft Exchange or Office 365 environment within a G Suite account in that same environment.  That means users can search across not only Google Calendar but Microsoft-based calendars for information, meeting times and the like.

In July, Google released a far more robust version of this interop tool, bringing several new features and overall stability to the solution.  That is the version that Google wants you using and, come February next year, you will have to use it going forward.

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G Suite Web Clipper To Be Removed in September

Web Clipboard in G Suite Apps

The Google G Suite team has announced that effective September 13th of this year, the web clipboard in the suite of apps will no longer be available.  The feature, according to the G Suite team, is rarely used as the ability to copy and paste across browser windows has improved over the years.  The feature was originally designed for when this was more challenging.

As these issues have become less prevalent across many browsers, we’re looking to simplify the user experience by removing the web clipboard, which is rarely used, on September 13th, 2017.

The post goes on to way that the team is working continue to improve the copy and paste feature within the web-based versions of the apps.

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Google Hangouts Dropping SMS Support – But Not for Project Fi Users

Google Hangouts for Android

Google has sent notifications out to G Suite customers that in starting next week, a warning will show up in Google Hangouts that SMS will no longer be supported.  That support will end on May 22nd.  The notification and change is part of the overall strategy of Google to move their G Suite customers to the new Google Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat while leveraging Android Messages for SMS on Android devices.  For consumers, the focus is on Google Allo and Duo to meet these communications needs.

For those readers who are on Project Fi (I am one of them) or using Google Voice, this change does not impact you.  This change only impacts G Suite customers who are using carrier numbers to send and receive SMS messages.  This fits along with what Google told me earlier this month at the Google Next Cloud event in San Francisco.

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