Update: Two other minor updates targeted to business customers have also been included. Text inside a Sheets cell can now be partially formatted, rather than formatting all the text to one font style (i.e. italics), and Google’s fonts are preserved when opening a Docs or Sheets file in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
Google has today pushed a bunch of new features and general improvements to its Docs suite of web-based productivity apps. It’s the beginning of the school year so it’s no surprise that the company’s post on the changes is targeted towards teachers, but anyone using Docs will benefit.
The first three product changes are specifically for the Docs word processor. Voice typing makes it possible to speak into your microphone and have it all transcribed to a document. With the new Research tool in the Android version of Docs, finding source content — a quote, a video, etc. — no longer requires leaving the app and going to a browser to find it. Searching Google is now built directly into Docs for Android, and tapping “Insert” will place the content you found into your document. Finally for Docs, tapping the new “See new changes” button when it appears in the top menu will show you all the changes that were made to the document since you last viewed it — say, if multiple people were collaborating on it.
Next up to see some love from Google is Forms, its lightweight survey software for easily getting lots of information from many people, all in one place. Today the product gained more personalization options, allowing those creating a new survey to style it with one of Google’s preset themes, or upload their own logo and have Forms automatically the form’s color palette to it.
Speaking of design, Docs, Sheets, and Slides have all three received new templates for a variety of different use-cases like resumes, portfolios, and more. Sheets by itself will now create visualizations of your data on-the-fly as you add it.
Arguably the coolest new thing from Google’s blog post on the changes is Share to Classroom, a Chrome extension which, with the click of a button, allows teachers and students to push web pages back and forth between each other. If the teacher, for example, finds a good story on National Geographic that she wants her students to read, all she needs to do to show it to all of them is make two clicks on the new extension from any webpage she wants to send. This new extension is most targeted to teachers out of everything Google announced in its post, as a Google Apps for Education account using Google Classroom is required to take advantage of the extension. Those who aren’t in education that want something similar should check out Google Tone.
Google Classroom is a product under Google for Education that enables teachers to “create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes.”
All of these features and changes are rolling out today, and Google has a separate blog post up for teachers about Share to Classroom.
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