Google can now design presentations for you.
I’m not even going to bother with an introduction for this blog post, because the new features Google’s rolling out across its productivity apps don’t need one.
Take a look at the Google blog post announcing G Suite. That’s what the company is now calling Google Apps for Work.
Google Slides now offers designs based on the type of content you’re working with. When you select a design, it’ll automatically reformat the slide to fit your text and images into whichever layout you selected. The whole process looks smooth and simple.
As someone who made a lot of mediocre PowerPoint presentations in high school, this is a big deal. I’m not much of a designer, so the idea of letting Google handle the presentation while I worry about the content is a relief. But Google didn’t just change its slideshow software.
Asking Data Questions
You can now query your Google Sheets spreadsheets with plain English. The Google blog shows an example of a business owner typing in “What is the average profit by type of garment?” Sheets spits out the answer to that question – no formula required.
When I worked as a reporter, “data whisperers” were in high demand. Being able to gain insight from large reams of data is crucial to journalism, but it’s just as important in making business decisions. Google is simplifying the process so it doesn’t take any math or advanced training.
Here’s another high-school flashback: citing sources. I still couldn’t tell you the differences between Chicago, MLA and APA citations. I just know it was never fun digging through books and websites looking for facts to support whatever shady thesis statement I had decided to run with.
Well, now Google Docs will recommend images, websites and research related to whatever topic you happen to write about. The company’s blog post shows a simple report about smartphone shopping. The software hands the user some statistics it thinks will help strengthen the text.
All of these new features rely on machine learning to improve based on their use. Put another way, they’ll theoretically get better the more we use them because they’ll see which suggestions users choose more often.
The new G Suite features are rolling out now for what was formerly known as Google Apps for Work. I’d be surprised if they don’t make it into the free personal Google app platform at some point.
Of course, I doubt they’ll always work as well as they do in Google’s examples. But I still can’t wait to mess around with them – breaking these things is usually half the fun.