Google's three-day Google I/O 2016 event held this week in its Mountain View, Calif. hometown brought together 7000 developers and Google watchers who braved long lines to hear about VR headsets, Google Assistant, Google Home and more.

For business users, it was a chance to see what Google has been up to with Google Apps, in particular, the apps designed to make work easier.

Releases this year focused on workflows and processes, as well as improving its existing line-up of productivity apps.

Google's focus on workflows puts it in good company. Xerox announced a major improvement to its workflow apps yesterday, and the conference comes a few short weeks after major releases from Microsoft. 

Copy and Paste Still Rules the Day

Why the focus on workflows? In spite of all the improvements in the document management space, workers still spend an excessive amount of time pushing (digital) paper around: into customer relationships management (CRM) apps, into enterprise resource planning apps, you name it.

And copy and paste is still the method of choice. Employees copy documents in a CRM app, for example, and paste them into a presentation, or into Google Sheets. 

To nip this bad habit in the bud, Google introduced at Google I/O three new APIs and a new feature to help workers get to the data they need, when and where they need it.

The new APIs allow developers to connect apps — and the data within them — more deeply with Google Sheets and Google Slides. The new Sheets API gives developers programmatic access to features in the Sheets web and mobile interfaces, including charts and pivot tables.

The new Slides API gives developers programmatic access to create and update presentations. Developers can use this API to push data and charts into Slides to create polished reports from source data in other applications.

The new APIs enable third-party service communication with both Sheets and Slides. Salesforce numbers among the early adopters, using the APIs to do real-time updates, which work in both directions.

In the future, Google plans to enable embedding of live data from Sheets in Docs or Slides files. This capability will update data in associated documents with that found in Sheets with a single click.

Like many of the Google Apps upgrades, these didn't receive the hoopla of releases like Google Home, but they'll go a long way towards making Google productivity apps more useful to enterprises.

Hyland Expands Insurance Vertical Footprint

Also in the enterprise document space this week, enterprise content management provider OnBase by Hyland announced its acquisition of AcroSoft, the developer of an enterprise content management for insurance companies.

Acquired by Interactive Intelligence in 2009, Miami-based AcroSoft provides ECM-focused software solutions to the insurance marketplace. The deal gives OnBase by Hyland 50 new insurance organizations to add to its more than 500 existing insurance customers.

Founded in 1991, OnBase by Hyland is a Cleveland, Ohio-based software company that claims 15,000 customers managing content, processes and case-related content enterprise using its ECM solution.

The announcement comes only days after OnBase by Hyland upgraded its flagship software and tied it to Microsoft Office and Outlook. The integration allows Office and Outlook users to interact with OnBase content, processes and case management using the latest versions of Microsoft’s productivity applications.

Bitrix24 Integrates with Office 365 for Business

Alexandria, Va.-based Bitrix, the company behind free online collaboration solution Bitrix24, has just announced a deeper integration with Office 365 for Business.

Now companies using Office 365 can integrate their accounts with Bitrix24 in order to edit documents online. The integration also allows authorization of employees in Bitrix24 via their Office 365 logins.

Learning Opportunities

Bitrix24 already offered an integration with Microsoft Office and personal Office 365 accounts. The difference here is it introduces Bitrix24 into the tens of thousands of businesses that use Office 365.

“Microsoft is an undisputed leader in office productivity tools, so we were very excited when they announced early API access to Office 365 enterprise accounts. It’s important for companies to have full control over documents, because employees come and go, but the knowledge has to be accumulated. The ability to work with business Office 365 accounts inside Bitrix24 was one of the most frequently requested features,” Dmitry Davydov, Bitrix24 Chief Marketing Officer said in a release.

Bitrix24 recently introduced a number of other changes to its cloud service, including making it free to an unlimited number of communication users, as well as an email integration with tasks, a new mobile app, company calendar and chat bots. The announcement this week means that Bitrix24 now integrates with Office, Outlook, Exchange, Office 365, SharePoint and OneDrive.

DocsCorp’s Hybrid Document Comparison App

Document comparison specialist DocsCorp announced the launch of compareDocs cloud, a web-hosted version of its document comparison software.

CompareDocs runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to allow Office 365 users to compare Word to Word and Word to PDF documents on a PC desktop, Surface Pro or iPad.

Sydney-based DocsCorp claims compareDocs is easy to deploy, and can be made available to users "instantly" on all devices running Office 365.

CompareDocs cloud is available as an Office Add-in for Word Online, Word for iPad and Word 2013 Service Pack 1 or later. It uses the same comparison engine as the compareDocs desktop version, but users will note some differences in functionality.

DocsCorp plans to announce a compare image PDF documents capability using built-in OCR technology soon. This capability will allow users to run both desktop and cloud versions interchangeably to allow universal access to compareDocs from anywhere, at any time.

Toshiba, Nuance Extend Partnership

Finally this week, Irvine, Calif-based Toshiba America Business Solutions and Burlington, Mass.-based Nuance Communications announced a new multi-year strategic partnership to enhance Toshiba’s solutions portfolio.

The agreement allows Toshiba to sell and distribute Nuance’s AutoStore and Equitrac document solutions through its independent dealer network and Toshiba Business Solutions direct sales operations throughout the United States and Latin America. 

The Nuance/Toshiba collaboration will enable current and future e-STUDIO multifunction products (MFPs) to offer front panel integration with the two flagship Nuance offerings toToshiba customers. 

Title image by John Cobb