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12 Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed During September

4 minute read

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September was one of the busiest months in recent memory in terms of Google Apps updates, with one of our favorite tools (Forms) receiving a huge overhaul. Plenty of other tools in Google Drive also received updates, and new features were added to the Admin Console throughout the month.

We’ve picked 12 of our favorite updates from September in the list below, so let us know what your favorite is in the comment section!

1. You can finally customize the appearance of your Google Forms

If you asked any power user of Google Forms what feature they desperately needed, nearly everyone would answer with the ability to edit and customize themes. We’ve had to wait a few years, but you finally have the ability to create beautiful and custom Forms! With this huge update to Forms, Google has added a brand new collection of themes to choose from, which can be customized to fit your specific needs. Alternatively, you can start from scratch and create your own Form theme using your own images. Aside from adding custom images, you can also change the form color, background color, font, font size / color and more!

2. Sharing is now easier with a simplified interface in Google Drive

Google has introduced a much more simplified version of the sharing interface in Google Drive and Drive files. This new look makes it much easier to grab a shareable link and pass it along to your collaborators. While this update doesn’t add any new features, I do like the simplicity it offers. If you’re just trying to grab the shareable link to a file, it’s going to save you a lot of time, while still offering the granular sharing controls that we are used to.

3. Voice calls are now free with Google Hangouts

Specifically, Hangouts users can call other users for free, along with US and Canadian numbers, with low rates for international calls. The great thing about this update is that it is reflected automatically for iOS users and Hangouts through the browser. Android users will need to install the new version of Hangouts as it becomes available over the next few days. If you’re still using Google Voice for the free calling, this seems like a great opportunity to give Hangouts a try. Google is making a big effort to increase the adoption of Hangouts, so you’ll see a constantly updated interface with tons of new features.

4. iOS security is even easier with the new iOS Sync for Google Apps

Shortly after Apple announced the brand new iPhone 6 and 6+, the Google for Work team introduced a brand new tool for iOS device management in Google Apps. iOS Sync will support existing devices that run iOS 7, the upcoming iOS 8 and the new versions of the iPhone.

5. Now you can save time in Google Docs with Automated Lists

We use Google Docs for all different types of lists, sometimes rushing and not even worrying about formatting. With this update, Google will recognize when you’re putting something into a list and automatically add some additional formatting for you. Automated Lists brings even more automation to Docs, which can be great if you’re in a rush or are just trying to save time. This update will recognize numbers, hyphens, asterisks and more, turning them into neatly formatted lists.

6. Make better looking presentations with new options in Google Slides

Every time Google adds a new feature to Slides it becomes an even more viable replacement for PowerPoint. That continued in September as they added even more customizability with Curved and Elbow Connector lines in Slides and Drawings. If you’re a presentation power-user, you know how valuable every little addition to Slides can be. This update is just another tool to help you put together beautiful and professional presentations.

7. Five more updates make Forms (even more) customizable

I told you there were a lot of updates to Forms in September and these 5 updates brought even more customizability to Google’s survey tool. A couple of the updates allow you to preserve the integrity of your surveys, by only allowing one responses per user and shuffling the order of questions. You can learn how to access all of the updates in the video, but it’s great to see an improved experience for anyone who wants to collect data.

8. Now users can install products from the Google Apps Marketplace

Administrators have long had access to the Google Apps Marketplace, but now end users can install some amazing third party tools on their own. While these tools can bring vital features to end users, administrators still need to be aware of what can be accessed and how to manage that access. Fortunately, Admins have the ability to enable full access, only allow access to whitelisted applications or restrict access completely to the Marketplace.

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