Friday, April 21, 2017

G Suite Series - Hangouts Chat & Meet

Companies understand the pain of hosting meetings with individuals outside their physical office space. Issues like weak signals, faulty plug-ins, and jammed telephone lines are often culprits for a 'less than pleasant' meeting experience.
Google understands this naturally, and innovated a solution. Their most recent update to Google Hangouts split it into two parts; Chat and Meet. Both consist of new features aimed to make the audio and visual communications between users, more convenient and direct. Chat and Meet, in a way, can be looked at as business counterparts to Google's consumer apps, Allo and Duo.

Here's what you need to know about Chat and Meet:

Hangouts Chat
If you're familiar with Slack, this is more or less Google's version of it but with superior conversation threading. Google Chat makes it easier to bring cross-functional teams together, discuss tasks that need to get done, and share collaborative work. It's designed to allow users to create virtual rooms where they can hold group conversations, and even break off into tangential threads. Available soon on Android, iOS, and web, it's perfect for practically anyone, on any device, anywhere.

Chat’s deep integration with G Suite means shared content from Drive and Docs, or photos and videos, can be viewed directly in conversations. It even includes filterable search to make it easy to find content dating back to the start of a project. The Chat platform supports a wide range of capabilities, from bots to simple scripting using Google App Script. It also integrates with third-party applications so teams can do more right from within the conversation. Chat also features @meet, an intelligent bot built on top of the Hangouts platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically schedule meetings for your team with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar.

Hangouts Meet
The purpose of Google’s Hangouts Meet is to ease the process of starting a meeting, essentially eliminating the need for plug-ins and sign-ins. It's meant to kick-start a video conference using nothing more than a browser with a shared link, calendar invite, or an ad-hoc share. Unfortunately it's common to find cumbersome perquisites when simply attempting to join a meeting with other video conferencing software. Meet's primary goal is to make joining meetings effortless so that users can be as productive as they are when they're face-to-face.
Hangouts Meet allows up to 30 participants as opposed to only 10 in the earlier Hangouts version. What's even cooler is that with every meeting, a dial-in number containing a PIN code for instant access is provided for a frictionless experience. It's super easy to dial in from a conference room, laptop, or a mobile device using the dedicated app. Meet is available to all G Suite editions, however, the ability to create meetings with a dial-in phone number is only available in the Enterprise tier of G Suite. Here's how to manage meet for you organization and a handy cheat sheet to help you get started.

It's clear that Google is committed to building communication tools focused on the way teams work, from anywhere, at anytime. More than half of the workforce will contribute remotely by 2020, so businesses require purpose-built tools to help their employees succeed. As to why Google decided to evolve Hangouts into 2 solutions, it's probably an aim to deliver an easier approach for the two main entry-points that customers adhere to; collaborative messaging and video meetings.

Click here to see what you can do with the newest features of Hangouts. To learn more about Hangouts Chat or Meet, get in touch with us today!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

An easier way to login to G Suite

Google is soon rolling out a noticeable update to your sign-in page to give you an improved experience to securely sign in to your accounts. The purpose of this new design is to make browser sign-in flows consistent across computers, phones and tablets. Here's what it will look like on your desktop:
We find some G Suite users complain about an inconsistent login experience via multiple devices, especially if they aren't using a third party SSO (single sign-on) utility. Google heard the complaints and in addition to the improved aesthetics, the new Google sign-in page will remove the “Stay signed in” checkbox that at certain times appeared for G Suite customers. This checkbox has been the source of much confusion so removing the checkbox will enable users to remain signed in unless they specifically sign out. It's always recommended to use a private browser (incognito) window when using shared or public devices.
Users using a third-party SSO provider to access Google applications, such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc., will not see any differences apart from the newly designed Google Accounts login page.

Users using a third-party SSO provider to access third-party applications will see an additional account selection page when they log in. This page will clarify which account they’re authenticating, as well as the permissions they’re granting to applications. All third-party SSO providers, including Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) SSO, will use the new Google Accounts login process.
All G Suite users will be shown the account selection page, before or after being redirected to the third-party application, depending on whether they’re already signed in to their browser and the specific third-party application they’re accessing. It's important to note that after being prompted to confirm the correct Google account and granting the requested permissions upon initial login, only the account selection page will be shown again upon subsequent login attempts. Existing G Suite users who use Google as their identity provider, will not be affected by the changes and will only see the redesigned Google sign-in page.

Removal of an account from the sign-in page is easy, this can be done from the account selection page by clicking the “Remove an account” link.
Hopefully this will assist in resolving issues for G Suite users on multiple devices and users who use an SSO utility. The update will rollout on Monday, April 10, to a small set of users and will ramp up slowly over the course of several weeks. Additional details about this update can be found on the Google support page.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about G Suite and how it can make your business processes faster, safer, and more efficient!