Is Google responding to Microsoft's latest email upgrades? Hard to say, but just two weeks after Microsoft upgraded its Outlook Inbox, Google announced an effort to declutter Gmail and help users rank importance of messages. 

And Thijs van As, Zurich-based product manager at Google, claims there's reason for excitement. The changes enable the Inbox to interact with a project management application (Trello) and a software collaboration platform (GitHub), which will both enable users to improve their flow of email notifications. Those two additions alone add enterprise appeal as it puts Inbox at the heart of work processes and enables users to work directly out of their enterprise inbox.

“You'll discover more integrations that make it easier to see what's happening and then act with organized Trello and GitHub project updates and Google Alerts previews. You'll also see updates based on your feedback, including Google Drive integration," he explained in a blog post

Google is also introducing upgrades based on user feedback that will improve collaboration and processes. They include:

  • The ability to insert Google Drive links directly into email and control who can access the content behind those links
  • The ability to drag-and-drop contacts between to, cc and bcc in compose on web
  • The ability to delete directly from the inbox

Van As promises the Gmail team "will continue to improve the email experience so you can spend less time dealing with email and more time being productive.”

This is all good for users and also reaffirms that reports of the death of email are greatly exaggerated.

Akumina’s New Outlook Content Add-In

Akumina still believes the inbox has an important role in enterprise work processes.

Just this week, it announced the release of Content Approval Add-in for Outlook, which informs Outlook users by email when new tasks have been assigned to them from SharePoint.

SharePoint, as we saw earlier in the week, is still used by a large number of enterprises, particularly for content management. So an inbox notification informing users about new assignments should prove useful.

The new Add-In is specifically for users of Akumina’s InterChange technology,  a fully-extendable digital workplace platform built for Microsoft Office365 and Microsoft Azure. InterChange AppManager also includes purposeful apps that enable employees to quickly access the data and tools they need to get their jobs done.

Box Expands Global Footprint

Enterprise collaboration heavyweight Box has also been busy. Co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie announced this week that Box is expanding its Box Zones offering to Australia and Canada.

Learning Opportunities

Box Zones, launched in April, enables businesses globally to adopt Box as a content management platform while letting them store their data in the geographic region of their choice.

Initially it offered customers the option of data centers in Germany, Ireland, Singapore and Japan, in partnership with IBM and Amazon.  This week it has expanded to two more major geographies — a reflection of the fact that at least half of its 62,000 client companies are engaged in business activity outside of the US.

Box is also rolling out improvements to Box Accelerator, which will give businesses upload speed up to six times faster than current rates.

“Box is now an average of five times faster in Japan, four times faster in Australia, and three times faster in the UK,” Levie wrote.

Levie also indicated that Box would continue to develop its support for global compliance standards, which means getting in step with banks, healthcare providers, life sciences companies, law firms and governments.

DocStar Improves Processes

Finally this week, docStar introduced eclipse Forms, which it describes as the next step in its product evolution.

Designed with drag and drop technology, eclipse Forms enables users to easily design any form, any time. By integrating with its line of business applications, it also enables users to auto-populate forms with data and receive email notifications, "ensuring efficient, accurate forms processing across the entire organization."

Data entry is standardized through automatic formatting, calculations and validation with third party applications. Electronic submission of completed forms eliminates rekeying information and associated data entry errors.