Smartsheet, the service providing spreadsheet software that lets people set and manage tasks and work across teams of people, has picked up $52 million. The company currently has about 70,000 businesses paying to use the product, ranging from SMBs through to large enterprises. This works out to around 550,000 licensed customers, and “a few million” people who use it free of charge. Smartsheet was an early mover in that space, opening up for business in 2006 as an alternative to the likes of Excel and other spreadsheet packages on the market, with a firm focus on offering a way for multiple people to collaborate in those documents to use them more dynamically.
Google is making it easier for IT admins to deploy and manage its Chrome browser in their businesses. The new Chrome Enterprise Bundle gives admins a single installer for the Chrome browser, the Chrome Legacy Browser Support extension for running the occasional ActiveX widget and a number of administrative policy templates. Google’s browser now also offers official support for Citrix’s XenApp virtualization platform and Windows Server with Terminal services. With this update, it’ll become easier for IT admins to deploy Chrome in their organizations.
Human resources management service Zenefits released a suite of new updates that revolve around trying to simplify the process of managing an employee base, from benefits to payroll, to something as simple as a few taps on an app. Right now, they’ve worked on tools like time-off requests and clocking in and out, but it seems clear that as it tries to recoup the good will it lost amid a major compliance scandal that effectively halved its valuation Zenefits is trying to methodically make its way back into the small- to medium-sized business mindshare with a simpler product than a complex desktop-based dashboard. Zenefits is also adding reporting and analytics for HR managers so they can construct reports on their businesses’ employee activity. One example use case of such a business intelligence function would be helping HR managers get better snapshots of data simply for presentations to their bosses.
Google updated Gmail app with an AI-driven "Smart Reply" feature that predicts responses you may want to send. The feature uses machine learning to analyze your emails and suggest quick, bite-sized responses you may want to send. Smart Reply suggests three responses based on the email you received. Once you’ve selected one, you can send it immediately or edit your response starting with the Smart Reply text. Either way, you’re saving time. Gmail Smart Replies are available now in both the iOS and Android app in English.
Slack now lets paid users to share live video of their screens during video calls. The feature will roll out on Slack’s latest Mac and Windows apps over the next few days. To use Slack screensharing, fire up a video call then hit the screenshare button. You can select your preferred screen if you’re using several, your webcam will deactivate, and Slack notifications won’t appear to avoid exposing any private info. Viewers will see all of your shared screen including your cursor so you can easily point things out. Slack’s native screensharing feature will compete with several integrations with third-party products it already offered, including Skype, BlueJeans, Appear.in, Google Hangouts, and Zoom.
Task manager Todoist is launching a deep two-way integration with Google Calendar. After hooking up your Todoist account with Google Calendar, your tasks are going to show up in your calendar if they have a due date. If you also entered a specific time of the day, you’ll see an event in your calendar. Recurring tasks will create multiple events. After that, you can click on your calendar events, edit them, move them around and everything will be synchronized back to Todoist. This way, you get a calendar view of your tasks… in your calendar. It’s also a good way to let other people add stuff to your calendar thanks to shared projects.
Untill now Microsoft’s Xamarin already allowed to develop iOS applications in Visual Studio but they still needed a Mac to build and test apps. But with the new Xamarin Live Player, they can deploy, run, test and debug iOS apps directly from a Windows PC that runs Visual Studio. To enable this new functionality, developers have to install the Xamarin Live Player app on their iOS device and then pair it to their PC by scanning a QR code on their screen. With this, Microsoft is closing the loop for most developers and is getting a step closer to its goal of positioning Windows 10 as the preferred operating system for cross-platform development.
VMware announced a partnership with Google to help control identity and access and set policies across the Chromebook line. The trouble is that large companies don’t to tend to use Chromebooks exclusively. When you are managing multiple devices that include Chrome OS along with others running Windows, OSX, iOS and Android, it suddenly gets a bit trickier to manage policy across all those OS types. Using VMware’s Workspace One product, companies can control access, set policies and handle identity management all from a single environment across all of the supported operating systems.
Zapier, the business process-centric services for connecting different applications and automating workflows, announced the launch of Zapier for Teams. This new, $250/month plan complements the company’s existing free and $20/month tiers and adds a number of collaboration features to the service. For businesses, this new plan also means that they can offer access to Zapier to their employees and pay a single bill. Foster also argues that this will improve security, especially given that a company can now easily add and remove user accounts as needed. In the past, with Zapier’s old pricing tiers, employees would often share passwords, which is obviously not an ideal solution.
Google is adding support for third-party add-ons that can integrate directly into Gmail. There are plenty of services that add functionality to Gmail already, of course, but they typically do that through a browser extension. Users will be able to install these add-ons from the G Suite Marketplace. That’s the same marketplace that already hosts add-ons for Google’s other productivity tools like Docs and Sheets. Users who install one of these new add-ons will be able to use them on the web and in Google’s mobile Gmail apps It’ll take a bit before this goes live, though. Google says this new feature is coming “later this year.”