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Google's productivity suite updated with dictation, integrated search and more

Blair Hanley Frank | Sept. 3, 2015
New features are focused on making students and teachers more productive.

Explore gives users a new way to view large spreadsheets full of data without requiring the help of a data analyst. Google Sheets will automatically generate live-updating charts and graphs that provide insights about the data users have fed into it. People can also highlight specific rows in a sheet in order to get information about just that specific data set.

All of the data processing is handled on a user's device, too, so users concerned about Google's cloud getting its hands on their sensitive information can rest easier. Right now, the feature is only available for Chrome on computers and Android, so iOS users will be left out in the cold on this one.

Forms has been redesigned to let users analyze their results right from the same screen they used to collect information, rather than requiring them to wade through a spreadsheet in order to see what people have said. Users who want to get access to more powerful analysis capabilities available in Sheets can still delve into the information there, too.

Improving its productivity tools for education is an important move for Google, since its Apps for Education suite is actively used by more than 50 million people. The company has placed a significant emphasis on developing its education business, and it's easy to understand why -- Chromebooks are massively popular in the education market, and getting students hooked on Google products early may keep them in the company's ecosystem later in life rather than turning to something like Microsoft Office.

 

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