Friday, May 5, 2017

Machine learning in G Suite - How it increases productivity

Humans have been evolving rapidly over the last few centuries; from the agricultural age, to the industrial age, to now the information age. As we evolve so do our tools and the ways we interact with them. Take G Suite for example. Just over the last few years, G Suite has evolved from more than just an email and contacts solution, it now has the capacity to anticipate your business needs and facilitate collaboration and productivity at an unprecedented level.
Formatting documents, email management, and creating expense reports. These are just a few of the common time-consuming tasks that negatively affect productivity. Time spent working on tasks that do not directly relate to a creative output is costly and is referred to as 'overhead'. Unfortunately, huge overhead is common in most businesses and hinders valuable potential. According to a study by Google in 2015, the average worker spent roughly 5 percent of their time actually coming up with the next big idea. The remaining 95 percent of the time was dissolved in the form of formatting, tracking, analysis or other mundane tasks. With all these tools and efficiencies, one would think the percentages would be reversed. To make this possible, Google introduced what's known as machine learning.
What is machine learning? Essentially, machine learning algorithms observe input examples and make output predictions based on data. In G Suite, machine learning makes your workday more efficient by handling menial tasks, like scheduling meetings, or by predicting information you might need and surfacing it for you, like suggesting Docs for example.

Ever notice how you received less and less spam over the years with Gmail? One of the first applications to use machine learning was Gmail. Historically, Gmail used a rule-based system, meaning Google's anti-spam team would create new rules to match individual spam patterns. With over a decade worth of data and using this process, Gmail improved it's spam detection accuracy to 99%! It's now one of the most secure and spam free email applications in the world. To take it a step further, in 2014 Google augmented the rule-based system to generate rules using machine learning algorithms instead. This took spam detection to another level which now allows Gmail to continually regenerate the “spam filter”, so systems learn to predict which emails are most likely junk. Naturally, machine learning finds new patterns and adapts more quickly than previous manual systems - it’s a great reason for why there are more than one billion monthly active Gmail users today!

The goal of G Suite is to help teams accomplish more with an intelligent range of applications, no matter where they are in the world. Smart Reply for example, uses machine learning to generate three natural language responses to an email. If you find yourself away from the office or time-restricted and are in need of a quick way to clear your inbox,  you can let Smart Reply do it for you. Click here to learn more about Smart Reply.

Explore in Docs, Slides and Sheets uses machine learning to eliminate time spent on things like tracking down documents or information on the web, reformatting presentations or performing calculations within spreadsheets. The whole point of these tools is to help the user accomplish more with less.

Another great example of machine learning is Quick Access in Drive which predicts and suggests files you might need within Drive. Quick Access intelligently predicts files based on who you share files with frequently, when relevant meetings occur within your Calendar, or if you have patterns of using files at specific times of the day. Using predictions based on recent Drive activity greatly increases a users productivity and efficiency for day to day work.

To learn more about how machine intelligence can make work easier, check out this video from Google Cloud Next with Ryan Tabone, director of product management at Google, where he explains more about “overhead.” G Suite was made to make businesses run faster, smoother, and more efficiently. If those are things you're looking to adopt for your organization, give us a shout! We'd love to hear from you and discuss the possibilities for you business IT solutions.

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