Ana Ciumac, customer engineer at Google Cloud, on stage at the Google Cloud Summit Paris
Ana Ciumac, customer engineer at Google Cloud, discussed the Google Cloud roadmap during the Google Cloud Summit Paris PHOTO: David Roe

Google set aside simmering tensions between it and the French government over tax and data privacy issues to talk up the potential of its G Suite productivity solution to a full house attending its Google Cloud Summit in Paris yesterday. 

The event covered a lot of familiar ground for anyone in the U.S. market, but the speakers did mention several upcoming releases and gave some hints into the evolution of the Mountain View, Calif. company's productivity strategy.

Automation, Smart Video Conferencing and More

David Thacker, VP Product Management at Google kicked off the summit by discussing the driving principles behind G Suite. 

“Our focus [with G Suite] is letting machines take care of the mundane tasks so that the 95 percent of the work will be automated, leaving workers to take over the higher tasks,” he said.

David Thacker VP Product Management G Suite
David Thacker VP Product Management G SuitePHOTO: CMSWire

While the comments mirror those of any company dealing with artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning in the workplace, Thacker did offer some specific examples of how Google is answering the challenge. Last year, the company introduced Drive Quick Access, which surfaced files on mobile devices based on your calendar, projects and previously accessed files to facilitate work.

It also introduced Gmail smart reply, which provided users with three possible relevant canned responses surfaced by AI.

This, Thacker said, is the future of G Suite.

G Suite will also offer better and more intelligent video conferencing as businesses move from audio to video, which he said, would increase productivity given that collaboration is more focused and effective through video.

G Suite Roadmap

Ana Ciumac, customer engineer at Google Cloud, offered a broader view of what’s coming up.

Connect, Collaborate, Share

She noted the new developments are a direct response to current problems Google customers are experiencing.

“The way we are looking at transformation is to break down the siloes. It’s a major challenge and our clients talk about it all the time. The different departments and people working in different places create dozens of siloes. This makes working and collaboration very difficult,” she said.

The objective, she added, is to create a connected, collaborative and sharing culture. This means the introduction of Google meetings from mobile devices, the creation of enterprise meeting experiences for up to 50 participants, as well as the ability to add more international dial-in numbers. G Suite will also get a discovery stream, as well as Community Q&A posts.

Together, these additions are designed to reinvent and update outdated processes and prevent redundant work via third party integrations and add-ons.

At the heart of this transformation is App Maker, which the company introduced in November 2016. App Maker is a low-code, drag-and-drop app builder that simplifies the process of creating purpose-specific basic apps for an organization. With it, users can build an interface and then populate it with data from G Suite applications, Google Maps, Contacts and Groups, as well as data from any service that offers an API.

Google Cloud Search

Behind all this is Google Search, which will be expanded to search all enterprise data.

Decision making is only effective, Ciumac said, when all available data is brought into play. To do that, Google plans to improve Google Cloud Search (formerly known as Springboard) by expanding the reach of its Ingestion API and SDK for third party data across the enterprise. Using it, she added, will break down silo walls and give workers access to all data, no matter where it lives.

Cloud Search debuted in February as a unified search product for the G Suite driven by machine intelligence.

Several security upgrades are also on the way for data protection. The new additions will include:

  • Admin reports in BigQuery, the data warehouse that enables speedy SQL queries
  • Community-level metrics as well as an audit log API
  • Admin console improvements and board analytics.

The company also plans to introduce improvements to cloud identity management. 

Google G Suite Roadmap
Google G Suite RoadmapPHOTO: CMSWire

Businesses can expect a number of upgrades to the G Suite in the near future, though the company gave no set time frame for delivery. But given the competition in the space, it is unlikely we'll have to wait long before seeing them in beta, if not general availability.