release the pigeons
After a false start, Google this week released its Backup and Sync tool for consumers. In other news, Box appointed a new COO PHOTO: Peter Shanks

In late June we reported Google was on the point of introducing a new Backup and Sync tool for its G Suite. But the release date came and went with no sign of the tool.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company had held back the release to work through a few unidentified issues. 

This week, Google released Backup and Sync for Mac and PC. The new app, Google said, would replace the older Google Photos desktop app and Drive client applications.

A Consumer Tool, Followed By an Enterprise Tool

In a blog post announcing the launch, Google stated the app would make it easier for users to back up their files as well as photos from the desktop.

The product is aimed at consumer-grade storage and file sharing. The company advised G Suite users to continue using the Drive functions currently on offer:

“Backup and Sync is primarily intended for consumer users. We recommend that our G Suite customers continue to use Drive for Mac/PC until our new enterprise-focused solution, Drive File Stream (currently in EAP), is made generally available to all G Suite Basic, Business, Enterprise, Education and Nonprofit domains later this year,” the post read.

So now we know: Drive File Stream, which is currently available in the G Suite Early Access Program, will be made available this year, probably in the fall.

Drive File Stream enables users’ access Google Drive files directly from Mac or PC, without using up all your disk space.

Unlike traditional file sync tools, Drive File Stream doesn’t require you to download your files first in order to access them from your computer. Instead, when you need to view or edit a file, it automatically streams from the cloud, on-demand.

So what about Backup and Sync? It looks good, but as with other consumer-grade file syncing, storage and share apps there is a reasonably good chance it will end up being used for enterprise files by workers if it is as easy to use as Google says it is.

Backup and Sync could, in fact end up as another ‘Shadow IT’ problem for those enterprises using Google productivity apps. Better get DFS out there as soon as possible, before Backup and Sync gets a bad name.

Box Appoints New COO After Levin Steps Down

Stephanie Carullo new Box COO
Stephanie Carullo
This week also saw a major management change at Redwood City, Calif.-based Box. Dan Levin, president and Chief Operating Officer, who guided Box through its launch on the public markets at the beginning of 2015, is stepping down after seven years with the company.

Stephanie Carullo, an IT veteran with senior management experience at both Cisco and Apple, will step in to guide the company in its next phase of growth.

“Dan has been an incredible leader and his commitment to strategic and operational discipline will always be part of Box’s DNA. We can't thank him enough for his mentorship, guidance and hard work in growing Box from 50 employees to more than 1,600 today,” Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of Box said in a statement.

He went on to discuss Carullo's fit for the company:

“With more than 25 years of leadership experience driving global sales strategy and execution for some of the world’s leading technology companies, Stephanie is perfectly suited to head Box’s operations and go-to-market strategy,”  he added.

Carullo began her career at IBM in Australia where she held leadership, general management and consulting positions throughout the APAC region.

After leaving IBM, she became managing director for Enterprise and Government sales at Telstra, leading a team of 1,000 professionals in a $3 billion business. She then moved on to Cisco and more recently to Apple as vice president of US Education Sales.

Levin is not completely stepping away from the company. He will stay on as an advisor and serve on the company’s Board of Directors, indicating the decision to step down was probably amiable. We will undoubtedly hear more about Carullo in the near future.

Outlook Apps Upgraded

The past week was filled with news coming out of Microsoft's Inspire partner conference in Washington, DC.

But Inspire wasn't the only source of Microsoft news this week, including the announced creation of an AI hub, which will be based in the company's Redmond, Wash. headquarters, as well as the (now) usual round of upgrades, including a redesigned version of the Outlook mobile app for iOS and Android.

A number of interesting upgrades are on the way with this release but, for our money, the new intelligent search and changes to navigation are the real winners.

Search, for example, will now be powered by Microsoft Graph, the developer platform that connects multiple services and devices through APIs

Within Outlook, the search will be able to surface more than just emails, to surface contacts, attachments, flight and travel itineraries, package deliveries and more. 

The company is planning to gradually roll out the new features to mobile users.

Introducing OpenText People Center

Finally this week, another announcement from OpenText, which made its Magellan AI platform generally available during its user conference in Toronto.

Also at the conference, the Waterloo, Ontario-based enterprise information management company released OpenText People Center, an HR application built on OpenText AppWorks.

People Center gives enterprises deeper visibility into the success of their HR services.

It also simplifies access to employee documents, drives document compliance and transforms the employee experience.

Built on the low-code development environment OpenText AppWorks, People Center enables easy customization for specific organizational needs with pre-built accelerators and building blocks, Muhi Majzoub, executive vice president of Engineering at OpenText said in a statement.

The company will make the solution available to the North American market later this summer, with further releases down the line.