Google Revamps Gmail, Drive, Hangouts with Businesses in Mind
Google this week made significant change to its core productivity suite, including its email, online storage, and messaging tools. Gmail gains support for add-ons from the G Suite Marketplace, which will let third-party companies create small apps that can hook into an enhance Gmail. Google Drive earned a major overhaul. The new Drive now includes Team Drives for shared work spaces, Google Vault for protecting sensitive data, Drive File Stream for integrating with existing apps and tools, and Quick Access for advanced search powered by machine learning. Google Hangouts sees what is perhaps the most visible change, as Google split the messaging service in two. Moving forward, Hangouts' two major functions will be covered in separate applications, Google Meet and Google Chat. Meet is a video conferencing tool that Google says works via shared links; it doesn't require accounts, plugins, or downloads, and is accessible from PCs, tablets, and mobile phones. Further, Meet integrates with Gmail, Google Calendar, and other Google services. Google Chat takes features from Google's other services and packs them into a more powerful messaging app. For example, it supports virtual rooms for team conversations and works with Google Drive, Docs, and Photos for sharing files directly with the group. Chat also gains access to bots and third-party applications. The new tools will become available over time, according to Google. Hangouts Meet is available immediately, but Hangouts Chat is only being offered through an early adopter program. Google didn't detail how these changes will impact mobile users, but it's safe to assume many of the features will eventually be accessible from smartphones.
Facebook Updates Messenger Platform to Improve Bots
Jul 1, 2016
Facebook hopes new features added to its Messenger Platform will help improve how bots perform within Facebook Messenger. For example, people can now rate bots so developers have more direct feedback on what works and what doesn't.
Facebook Seeks to Improve Bots for People, Brands, and Developers
Apr 18, 2017
Facebook today announced major changes to its Messenger platform that should make bots easier to find and use. To start, Messenger now includes a Discover tab where people can recall recently used bots, as well as use a free-form search field to seek out new bots.
Microsoft Brings the Power of Cortana and Bots to Skype
Mar 30, 2016
Microsoft is giving Skype a boost of intelligence thanks to Cortana and Skype Bots. With Cortana integration, Skype users will be able to do things such as manage their calendar and contacts without leaving the Skype app.
Google to Strip SMS from Hangouts May 22
Mar 24, 2017
Google today outlined a number of changes to its various messaging services, including a dramatic shift for Hangouts. Starting May 22, Google Hangouts will no longer support SMS for text messaging between phones.