Since making Google Meet premium video meetings free and available to everyone, Google has continued to accelerate the development of new features for the growing number of individuals, teams and organizations that use the service.
Google Meet, you may recall, is a video-communication service developed by Google. It is one of two apps that constitute the replacement for Google Hangouts, the other being Google Chat. Currently it is included in all G Suite editions, as well as to anyone with an email address. In fact, if your organization doesn’t use G Suite, you can still get the business version of Meet for your team with the new G Suite Essentials, which includes Meet, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.
The development drive continues as Mountain View, Calif.-based Google looks to offset the rising popularity of San Francisco-based Zoom for video meetings and conferencing. While Meet is designed to support and scale for up to 250 participants or provide a livestreaming service for 100,000 in-domain viewers, one of the big drawbacks has been the number of people it is possible to see in a call.
Recently, to keep up with Zoom, it launched improvements to layouts that lets users see up to 16 participants, along with the content that is being shared, all at the same time. This is now being pushed to 49 users. That is not all though. Google will also enable users to create virtual breakout rooms that will make it easier for large meetings to split into smaller groups, in much the same way they can do at conferences, Smita Hashim, director of product management at G Suite, explained in a blog.
Google will also be adding Jamboard by Google to Meet later in the year. At the moment, Jamboard by Google enables teams to creatively brainstorm from laptops, mobile devices, or from physical Jamboards. Once this has been integrated into Meet, though, it will make it easy for those who are working remotely to participate in brainstorming activities.
There are a couple of other Meet additions on the way too, like Meet on the Nest Hub Max so users can easily join meetings through their smart home display, but the real appeal here is the ability to see more meeting participants on screen and to enable users to step into virtual rooms.
If Google has been a little slow in developing features that other vendors like Zoom and Microsoft have already built, once these new additions come into play, Google will be right up to speed with the others and — and this appears to be the thinking — prevent existing users from going elsewhere to find functionality that Google is not providing.
Microsoft ‘Disappears’ Gmail Emails
However, not everything from Google is positive this week. According to postings on a Microsoft forum, Gmail users are discovering that Microsoft’s Windows 10 built-in Mail client is deleting their emails and/or sending them to spam automatically. One user started the ball rolling by posting the following query, which is worth reposting in full. It goes:
“I have been facing an issue with the Windows 10 Mail app linked to a google account. I have noticed that when I respond to emails, the email I send disappears and cannot be found in sent items, outbox, bin, spam, or anywhere actually. The disappeared email cannot be found on Gmail's web interface either. It appears that it is automatically deleted and erased from the server.
"Anybody aware of a solution to this problem? I have posted my question to the Gmail community and was told that this is an issue that has been recurrently reported by users of Windows 10.”
There are four pages of responses, all from people that are suffering the same misfortune. But there is more. In response to a question to Microsoft from Forbes website, it emerged that the problem has also spread to Outlook. Microsoft also confirmed that there has been increase in user reports and that it has now started an investigation into the issue. However, Microsoft has not given a clear idea of when the problem will be solved. Nor has it given any explanation as to what caused it, although it may have something to do with the recent upgrade to Windows 10 in May.
Microsoft OneDrive and Teams Integration on the Way
Microsoft, however, has been working on other interesting things too. Later this month, the Redmond, Wash.-based company said it will update its cloud store and synching application OneDrive for both business users and consumers so as to enable them to upload, share and sync files easier than it is at the moment.
It is also allowing users upload files of up to 100Gbs into OneDrive, something that should enable users to work collaboratively on a large documents, sound files or videos. In a blog about the new addition, Seth Patton, general manager of Microsoft 365, explained that with "Add to OneDrive," not only can you bring all your shared content into one place, but you can also work with the shared content with the same power and flexibility as if they are files you own. This means that the added content can be synced, shared, and collaborated on — and that it retains all existing security and compliance policies.
While this is a welcome development, for business users there is more. Patton said Microsoft will also be rolling out the same file sharing and access control experience in Teams that business users know from other Microsoft 365 apps, including OneDrive, Outlook, or Office. This means that the new OneDrive capabilities will also be accessible through Teams, giving it considerable collaboration capabilities for work across large teams. Soon, when you go to share a file from within Teams, you’ll have the option to create sharing links that provide access to anyone, people within your organization, people with existing access, or specific people, including those in a private or group chat.
Microsoft will also be rolling out an update to the OneDrive sync app so that it will be able to read and write sync for shared libraries that contain required metadata. This will enable business users to edit content in their synced libraries while working from their desktops.
IBM and SAP Deepen Partnership to Create Intelligent Enterprises
Meanwhile, Armonk, New York-based IBM and Germany-based SAP have announced that they are pushing their partnership to a new level with plans to develop several new offerings designed to create a more predictable journey for businesses to become data-driven intelligent enterprises.
According to IBM, over 400 businesses have modernized their enterprise systems and business processes through IBM and SAP's digital transformation partnership. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and significantly impact many industries across the globe, organizations are realizing they need the agility to seamlessly adapt to changing market conditions and customer demand. As a result, the two companies are going to deliver solutions that will:
- Reinvent workflows with intelligent industry end-to-end processes: IBM and SAP have started to jointly define and deliver cloud-based solutions with intelligent workflows to enable clients to make business decisions based on data-driven insights.
- New hybrid cloud solutions: IBM, Red Hat and SAP will collaborate to bring managed services from SAP on premise by validating private deployments of SAP Cloud Platform and related backing services on Red Hat OpenShift.
- Reimagine customer and employee experiences: To help companies increase value from data, IBM and SAP plan to provide technology and services using the SAP Customer Experience portfolio and Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics) to enable clients to deliver new omnichannel experience and measure and improve the effectiveness of stakeholder experiences.
These new offerings will be based on SAP's intelligent suite and SAP's industry cloud solutions. They will enable clients to benefit from SAP and IBM technologies, such as AI, machine learning, automation and analytics. Terms and details of definitive agreement have yet to be finalized but when they are, we will take a deeper look.
Nuxeo Unveils Low Code UI for AI
Finally this week, New York-based Nuxeo aims to offer enterprise the ability to easily build their own AI. As you may recall, Nuxeo launched Insight last year, an AI service that made it the first Content Services Platform (CSP) to offer a trainable cloud service for machine learning. In doing so it enabled businesses to use their own data and content to train custom models. This week, the company has released a low-code user interface (UI) for Nuxeo Insight.
This new UI allows users to simply "point and click" to select data, apply parameters and perform renderings for these custom AI models. In addition, the new UI includes a dashboard that provides real-time updates on the training process and allows users to monitor performance of models over time. It also includes a dashboard that provides real-time updates on the training process and outcomes. It also enables organizations to easily administer their custom ML models, allowing them to quickly promote new models into production and to actively monitor the performance of their models over time.
It is often difficult to define and train new models. Many companies struggle to develop the right training data set to produce the results they want from their models. Once they have been deployed, it is difficult to understand how various models are performing and whether, over time, this performance is improving or degrading. This upgrade to Nuxeo Insight solves those challenges and should help make AI and ML even more mainstream.