G Suite to get breach investigation tools and data residencies in latest upgrade

Enhanced AI tools for G Mail also announced at Google's Next 2018 conference

Google has today announced a slew of new features for G Suite, including breach investigation tools, data regions, and AI integrations that aim to make it easier to chat with colleagues.

Security was chief among the upgrades revealed at Google's Cloud Next conference in San Francisco this week, in an effort to build upon tools already released as part of the security centre released earlier in the year. It's also the first major set of new features since Google revamped G Suite in April, which saw a complete redesign of G Mail.  

Admins can now use an investigation tool to root out infected machines or accounts, and identify what data has been shared as a result of those infections. The tool UI can be accessed from within the existing security centre, providing a means to view potential threats without the need to analyse report logs.

The new tool is available today for G Suite enterprise customers, or those users in the early adopter program.

Google also revealed that data regions are finally being added to G Suite for all users for free as of today, allowing organisations to choose a primary location to store the data from Google apps, whether this be the US, Europe, or globally distributed.

"Transparency and control have been key elements of our data governance principles," said Prabhakar Raghavan, VP of G Suite, speaking at Next 2018. "We've heard from many customers that they'd like to have select users data residing in Europe or the United States. Data residency regions will allow the primary data for key G Suite apps to be resident at the customer's demand."

This also includes features such as the automatic transfer of data between regions if a file's owner moves to a new division within a company and full edit rights for owners while data is being moved.

As for the non-security announcements, Google revealed that Smart Reply, a feature that automatically suggests quick responses to messages in Gmail, will be making its way to Hangouts Chat in the coming weeks. Google revealed that around 10% of all Gmail replies are based on Smart Reply suggestions.

Smart Compose, essentially the same idea only for those wanting more elaborate messages, will also be launched for G Mail at the same time. This allows users to autocomplete common phrases and insert predefined personalised information, such as a home or office address. As its all based on machine learning, the tool should become more accurate at personalising your emails, according to Google.

As for Hangouts, Google announced it would be rolling out voice commands for its Hardware for Hangouts Meet range, simple commands like "Hey Google, start the meeting" at first, with more complex ones being rolled out over time.

Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insight, said that Google was now correctly focusing on building out its Hangout Meets service, which has been the "unsung hero of Google's productivity and collaboration suite in the past".

"By embracing AI and enabling voice commands, Google's strategy is aiming squarely at Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana as the speech assistant wars intensify beyond the home and into workplace," said Ashenden.

Image courtesy of Google

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