What’s New at Google – May June July 2017

In the past few months, Google has been busy! Google added some fancy charting features to Google Sheets, Android Pay partnered with PayPal, Google NoCaptcha reCaptcha arrived, Backup and Sync from Google became available, and easy HIPAA compliance showed up

What's New at Google | Web and Beyond

In the past few months, Google has been busy! Google added some fancy charting features to Google Sheets, Android Pay partnered with PayPal, Google NoCaptcha reCaptcha arrived, Backup and Sync from Google became available, and easy HIPAA compliance showed up for G Suite (with help from partner, Virtru). I’m going to highlight the important ones in this installment of What’s New at Google (WNAG). I’m restarting these WNAG posts again, and since it’s been a while, I’m mashing together a few months’ worth of news.

Google and G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work) constantly changes and some of it’s pretty important to the overall productivity of a Small Business. Other changes, not so much. This ongoing Web and Beyond blog series, What’s New at Google parses through the chaff so you know what’s going on at Alphabet and its most powerful Search Engine subsidiary, Google. These posts update you about new updates to the Google ecosystem that affects you as a Small Business owner and entrepreneur. These are the exciting and frequent enhancements that Google makes to deliver better products for you, as well as danger zones to avoid when they fall short.

Backup your Computer Files and Photos Easily with Google – What’s New at Google

It’s really important for Small Business owners to secure their business data. Laptops and mobile devices break, get lost, and are stolen. And, when (not if) these incidents happen, Small Businesses are put in catastrophic positions. Don’t let this happen!

Google has finally released its anticipated backup solution (for Windows and Mac OS X) and it’s available for G Suite too, so this is going to be really great for Small Business. It uses the data of your Google or individual G Suite user account storage space for the data you backup. It allows you to selectively choose which folders to backup in Google Drive, and which folders to backup to Google Photos.

Head over to Google’s Backup and Sync for Google Photos and for Google Drive and get your computer data securely backed up to the cloud.

What’s next for Google payment and loyalty experiences – What’s New at Google

Google’s The Keyword blog, which is the omniblog for all of Google’s products and services, wrote an article about its new payment and loyalty upgrades it’s making across the Google and Android ecosystems. This may seem technically trivial and summarily benign to you but if you’re a local Small Business, this is incredibly important.

As Google upgrades it Google Payment API and Card Linked Offers API (the services that connect Google tools to your eCommerce websites and mobile apps), the more you’ll have the ability to drive retail traffic into your business.

Here’s an example that will be possible someday very soon, and even sooner if you’re using a Clover Small Business Point of Sale solution:

Jane Shopper is searching for a yoga school to join. Up pops not just yoga studios in her area, but Google now surfaces a list of classes and the ability to “Book” a class today, right now from Google Search or Google Maps. (As a business owner, this currently works if you’re using one of several scheduling services in a supported industry, including Genbook, SalonRunner, Rosy, Yocale, and WellnessLiving. In short speed, Google will be also bring on board Booksy, Envision, MyTime, Schedulicity, Setmore, Shore, SimpleSpa, SuperSalon and TimeTrade.)

Now Jane walks into that yoga class and has a great experience. Before leaving, you, the savvy yoga studio owner, let’s call her Yogi Jill, have Jane sign-up for your loyalty program. If she comes to a few more classes, then she’ll get a discount on a monthly package going forward. Every time Jane uses Android Pay for touchless payment at the yoga studio, Yogi Jill is able to track data about Jane and push new offers to her when they’re earned. This keeps the relationship warm, Jane getting her asanas sharp, and the retail traffic continuous.

And, if you’re selling products, note that this works similarly for retail stores as well. My advice to Small Business owners right now is to make sure that you’re using the technology that connects to Google and don’t invest in any Point of Sale solution provider that isn’t going to integrate with NFC payment (i.e., Android Pay and Apple Pay), as well as connecting to your loyalty program, and Google Payment and Card Linked Offers APIs.

Google adds some fancy charting features to Google Sheets – What’s New at Google

Visualize data instantly with machine learning in Google Sheets

Image: www.blog.google

Google Sheets has introduced machine learning into its skill-set through the Explore feature. You can use natural language searches for data you have in your spreadsheet workbook and get that data visualized more easily.

Learn more in Google’s article, “Visualize data instantly with machine learning in Google Sheets.”

If you’re a Small Business trying to make better decisions, the more you can centralize your data into Google Sheets and make it visual, the easier those decisions can be. You can export data from Google Analytics, your CRM, and recent purchase information from your Point of Sale or invoicing software, then import those into one Google Sheets workbook. From there, you can use the Google Sheets Explore feature to unearth insights that will help you create stronger customer relationships.

Google NoCaptcha arrives – What’s New at Google

So, we all know the bane of Internet’s existence are spammers, hackers, and trolls. But, for the average user, the most prevalent annoyance are the images that you need to decipher and complete in order to complete forms, known as CAPTCHA/reCAPTCHA.

As Google explains it,

reCAPTCHA is a free service that protects your website from spam and abuse. reCAPTCHA uses an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive CAPTCHAs to keep automated software from engaging in abusive activities on your site. It does this while letting your valid users pass through with ease.

reCAPTCHA offers more than just spam protection. Every time our CAPTCHAs are solved, that human effort helps digitize text, annotate images, and build machine learning datasets. This in turn helps preserve books, improve maps, and solve hard AI problems.

Of course, this is less than ideal, because the onus is on your fickle website visitor to have the patience to complete the reCAPTCHA puzzle in order to submit a contact or other types of forms on your website. Google is solving this with invisible NoCAPTCHA. With the new NoCAPTCHA, the common website visitor won’t see a reCAPTCHA puzzle unless they’re identified as a likely spammer. The website publishers and visitors the world over all exhale a collective sigh of relief.

As a business website publisher, all you need to do is setup Google reCAPTCHA on your website, and the rest is taken care of for you by Google.

Google brings Smart Reply to Gmail on Android and iOS so you never have to type again – What’s New at Google

The last update I wanted to cover is Google’s update to its mobile apps for Gmail. They’ve implemented Inbox by Gmail’s Smart Reply functionality into Gmail Mobile. This is great for those one word to one sentence responses that comprise of many email messages we receive on a daily basis. This is available in the consumer-side Gmail and in G Suite Gmail, so check it out and see if it’s helpful to your productivity.

More Updates – What’s New at Google

Here are some other highlights over the past few months, if you want to dig deeper:

Until next time on What’s New at Google!


G Suite ← Use this signup link to try G Suite Business with a free trial. If you want to keep it, I can give a discount on your G Suite account, covering your first year of service. See these instructions and request a redemption code.

 

Retail Doom & Gloom: Crisis or Opportunity?

Mid Year State of the Market: Maurisa Potts, in a mid year “state of the market” presentation sponsored by the Alexandria SBDC featured a headline stating, “Soft economy hitting big retailers hard.” There are, I might add, some small ones not doing too well either. Potts went on to note that online shopping is not the only reason for this, siting over built retail real estate, escalating rents, and shifts in consumer spending from goods to services. Whatever the reasons, there are few retailers not feeling the current uncertainty. This, according to Potts, begs the questions what is it, crisis or opportunity?

Clearly Unclear: I like this mindset. It presuppose important changes in the business model by which most retailers operate. Savvy retailers need little schooling on this topic, and outside of a reference list here, my interest is about how a physical store might be impacted. According to Potts the action takes place in three areas. The first two, customer focused retail and the resultant deep market analytics are technology driven. The third is the technology. Clearly the lines between the physical and digital store are becoming unclear. A retailer must decide which options to embrace:

mobile apps/enhanced mobile apps/personal concierge
smart navigation
mobile checkout
on demand customer service.
virtual fitting rooms
flexible fulfillment options
enhanced product information
community connections
target walk by shoppers
holographic product displays
delivery service
drones

Augmented Retail: Each of these items taken individually involves some type of electronic technology which must be both accommodated and invisible, a subject covered in previous posts so not detailed again here. Together, though, they define what is referred to as augmented retail, a situation with substance and influence on how a physical store will look. Rachel Shechtman, the founder of Story, a cutting edge store in Manhattan, described the design concept as a physical magazine. This is so telling. Store planners and designers have probably not seen such a revolutionary design idea since the emergence of big box retail. In the marketing world I would compare the trend to the early days of Martha Stewart Omnimedia which eventually consolidated her various publishing and media outlets into a single brand. It seems to have come full circle as omnimedia has finally found expression in bricks n mortar.

Design by Collaboration: Pick up a copy of your favorite magazine and flip it open to the index page. What do you see? I see an implied program for a store design, an outline of ways to engage the customer, often a recipe for co-creation where the customer participates in the outcome of his/her shopping trip. What combination of media, mobile apps, interactive displays, technology, and hard store design options a retailer chooses to bring into his/her store is a collaborative decision best made between the store designer, the retailer, the marketing team, and the all important technology consultants. When these things work together a really successful store can be the outcome.

The Positive Case for Bricks N Mortar: Barbara Thau, writing for Forbes, lists, “Five Signs That Stores (Not E-Commerce) Are the Future of Retail.” Worried retailers might do themselves a favor by considering the following:

“All But One Of The Top Ten U.S. Retailers Are Physical Chains

Stores Are More Profitable Than E-Commerce

Amazon Purchased Whole Foods

Millennials And Generation Z Prefer Real-Life Stores

Online Retailers Are Being Eaten By Legacy Retailers

Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED-accredited Professional practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design, and with a comprehensive background in commercial retail design, planning and construction has completed projects for such for such well known brands as Chloe, Zegna, and Bvlgari. Her career began in tenant coordination and site planning for two well-known Cleveland developers, followed by six years in store planning for a national retailer. After a move to New York City in 1997, she spent the next years working for architecture firms specializing in retail projects. In 2011 she started her own practice in Alexandria, VA. Ms. Gaddis is the author of two blogs dealing with architectural subjects.

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