Catch up on Inbox, Drive and Classroom updates from the last month

Here you’ll find the Google Apps monthly updates from the past month. Are you caught up on everything new? Check out our previous Google Apps updates.

Notable new features:

  • Mobile image and table insertion in Docs and Slides
  • PDF viewer improvements to Google Drive for Android
  • Expansion of Inbox by Gmail early adopter program

Introducing Google+ Collections, a new way to group posts by topic

Today, Google announces Google+ Collections, a new way to group posts by topic.

Every collection is a focused set of posts on a particular topic, providing an easy way for people using Google+ to organize their interests and focus areas. For Google Apps customers, collections could be used for communicating to a project team or organizing an event, allowing followers to easily access all relevant posts in one location.

Each collection can be shared publicly, privately, or with a custom set of people. Once you create your first collection, your profile will display a new tab where other people can find and follow your collections. Posts in collections you follow will appear in your Home stream, with a link to easily jump right into the collection so you can get to similar content from that author.

Collections is available on Android and the web starting today, with iOS coming later.

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Deprecation reminder: Migrate all scripts away from OAuthConfig before June 26th, 2015

OAuth is the de facto standard for authorization today and used by most modern APIs. To assist with connecting Apps Script to OAuth-protected APIs, Google recently created two new open source libraries: OAuth1 for Apps Script and OAuth2 for Apps Script. These libraries replace and extend the capabilities of the UrlFetch service’s limited OAuthConfig class.

All Google APIs (Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc.) stopped supporting OAuth1 (and by extension OAuthConfig) on April 20th, 2015. Scripts using these APIs should have been migrated to the OAuth2 for Apps Script library or the API’s equivalent Advanced Service.

On June 26th, 2015, Google goes one step further and shut down the OAuthConfig class completely. This means that if you have scripts that still use OAuthConfig to connect to APIs, you will need to update your code to use the OAuth1 for Apps Script library before June 26th, 2015.

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Create, edit, and grade assignments on the go with new Classroom mobile app features

In January, Google launched a Classroom mobile app for iOS and Android, because they knew that students were increasingly relying on mobile devices to get homework done on the go. That app has now been downloaded more than 2.5 million times. This functionality isn’t just useful for students, however. Google has heard from teachers that they also want to be able to keep track of their classes no matter where they are or what device they’re on. Today, they’re making that even easier with several new features. Teachers can now:

  • Create and edit assignments on the go, make copies of attachments, and attach new photos to assignments.
  • Grade assignments from their phones or tablets, and add private comments for students.
  • Snap pictures to create assignments, so whiteboard photos and class notes can be posted to the stream for students who are absent and/or assigned to the class for a deeper dive.

Classroom_Mobile_App

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Changes to Drive folder and page URL structure

To improve overall performance, Google is moving from using hash marks (#) to using the HTML5 History API in Google Drive. This means that moving forward, Google Drive folder and page URLs will no longer include hash marks (for example, https://drive.google.com/drive/#folders/ABC will become https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ABC and https://drive.google.com/drive/#starred will become https://drive.google.com/drive/starred).

Links to Drive folder and page URLs containing hash marks will continue to work indefinitely, but this change could impact any Google Apps admins or employees who parse Drive folder or page URLs specifically for the “#” symbol or who use Chrome extensions that employ the old-style URLs for Drive navigation.

This change is currently live for Rapid release domains; the rollout to Scheduled release domains is planned for June 9th.

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Mobile image and table insertion on the Google Docs and Slides apps

New versions of the Google Docs and Slides apps for Android and iOS are now available on Google Play and the App Store. New features include:

  • Docs
  • Insert images
  • Slides
  • Insert, crop and mask images
  • Insert and manipulate tables

All of today’s improvements to Docs and Slides will remain available when you’re offline. You’ll just need the updated mobile apps.

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PDF viewer and performance improvements for the Google Drive app for Android

A new version of the Google Drive app for Android is coming to Google Play this week. New features include:

  • PDF Viewer enhancement: see completed form data
  • Performance and interface improvements

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Expanding the Inbox by Gmail early adopter program for work

Earlier today, Google announced that Inbox by Gmail is now open to all consumers—no invitation required. They also announced several new features for Inbox like undo send and signatures. In addition, while they’re still in the early stages of bringing Inbox to work, they’ve expanded the Inbox early adopter program—announced earlier this year—so any Google Apps for Work customer who wants to join can do so.

They want to build an Inbox that changes the way people get things done at work by collaborating with Apps for Work customers to bring Inbox to work, and they encourage Apps for Work customers interested in the early adopter program to get involved by joining the Inbox early adopter community.

Notes:

  • If you use Vault, you should carefully evaluate how existing domain rules work with Inbox before enabling Inbox for your domain.
  • The early adopter program is currently not available for Google Apps for Education, Google Apps for Nonprofits, or Google Apps for Government customers.

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About

Garrett Wenger is a storyteller and marketer at Newmind Group, and a native to Kalamazoo, MI. He received his BFA in English Literature from Western Michigan University, and has heritage in Southwest Michigan’s creative writing community. He published his first book of poetry in late 2013, and he has been featured in numerous literary journals.