Google today launched a new tool for its business customers called Google Cloud Search, which will allow users to search across G Suite products, including Drive, Gmail, Sites, Calendar, Docs, Contacts, and more. The service was previously available in a limited preview where it was then known as Springboard, and described as something like a Google Now for enterprise workers.
Springboard, now Cloud Search, is designed for use in larger companies where different groups and individuals have access to different files. The search service respects file sharing permissions, so users can only access what’s available to them, whether that’s company-wide resources like a policy manual, team projects, or documents only they can see.
In addition to surfacing work documents, Cloud Search works as a directory service, allowing users to seek out colleagues’ contact information, while also viewing the events and files they have in common. When viewing a contact’s info in the search results, users are able to click to start an email, phone call, or start a Hangout.
Similar to Google Now, Google Cloud Search employs a card-style design to present information to you, whether you’re accessing the search service via your phone or laptop. Also like Google Now, the service takes advantage of machine intelligence in order to highlight information it thinks you’re most likely to need. In these cards – or “assist cards,” as they’re called – Google Cloud Search will pop up things like recently accessed files, meeting reminders, notes and more.
Adding machine intelligence to enhance its productivity tools has been a focus for Google in recent months. Alongside with the (still questionable) G Suite rebranding, the company announced a bevy of machine intelligence-powered features, including “Quick Access” in Drive that would predict which file you needed next before you began typing. Google claimed at the time this would take 50% off the average time it takes to pull up the right file.
Translated into a predictive search service via Google Cloud Search, the goal is to offer a similar productivity increase to G Suite users. As Google notes in a blog post announcing Cloud Search, workers today spend 20% of their week searching for and consolidating information. The new service aims to reduce that figure.
Google Cloud Search is rolling out now for customers using G Suite Business and Enterprise editions. In the future, Google says it will introduce more features and will integrate with third-party applications.