U-M Google Updates

Notice: End of IE11 support for all Google Workspace apps


Google has announced that they will be ending Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) support for all Google Workspace apps on March 15, 2021. To avoid any possible disruptions in service, such as degraded performance or security vulnerabilities, please switch to a supported browser (i.e., Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge) before that date. This change comes after the announcement in August 2020 that Microsoft will be ending IE11 support for all Microsoft 365 applications by August 2021.

If you are still accessing the Google Workspace apps via IE11, you should have already begun to notice a banner from Google informing you to upgrade your browser by March 15.

 "Gmail won't be supported on Internet Explorer after March 15th, 2021" and then links to supported browsers.

Set custom backgrounds in Google Meet


Google has announced that Google Workspace for Education domains can now allow users to replace their backgrounds with an image in Google Meet. You can either use Google’s pre-set images or upload your own image. Currently, custom backgrounds can only be set when in a Google Meet session within Google Chrome on Chrome OS, macOS, and Windows devices. Support on the Meet mobile apps will be coming soon.

 intro text = "Replace backgrounds in Google Meet", then proceeds to show a Meet session with changing backgrounds for the participants.

Visit the Google Help Center to learn more about how to change your background in Google Meet.

This feature should have begun to show up in U-M Google on February 2, 2021, but it could take a day or two to become fully visible.

U-M Google January Monthly Summary


The monthly U-M Google summaries inform the university community of Google releases. We communicate important information throughout the month, which is aggregated here for your convenience.


To learn more about Smart Compose in Google Docs, visit the Google Help Center.

You can now turn the Google Meet Quick access setting on or off when creating/editing a Google Calendar event that includes a Google Meet session. (The Quick access setting helps you control if participants must ask to join the video meeting.) Previously, the setting could only be controlled via the Host controls menu during the meeting. 

Adding comments in Google Docs will now include the Smart Compose and autocorrect features. Smart Compose suggestions will appear in light grey when typing and, to accept a suggestion, press the TAB key. Misspelled words will automatically be corrected while typing and denoted with a grey, dashed underline. As you continue typing, this dashed line will disappear.

Google has added tools in Google Meet that make it easier for you to understand how your local desktop and network environments affect meeting quality. During a call, you can now go to the three-dot menu and select “Troubleshooting and Help” to see: 

  • CPU load and network stability over time.
  • Time segments highlighted when the local environment likely affects the call quality.
  • Suggested actions to help improve call performance.
  • Real-time feedback on the effect of any action taken on network and processing load.
  • Tips for performing common tasks, like presenting content and recording meetings.

Visit the Google Workspace Learning Center to learn more about troubleshooting issues in Google Meet.

 Shows a mouse clicking through and hovering over various pieces of the new "Troubleshooting and help" menu for Google Meet.

You can now resize the Google Chat and Rooms sections in the left-side navigation of Gmail on the web.

Screenshot of the left navigation bar of Gmail on the web. There is a circle around a zoomed in view of the resize icon above Chat.


Google is in the process of changing the experience when you join or start a meeting from meet.google.com.
When you click “New meeting,” you’ll now see the following options:

  • Create a meeting for later: Generate joining information for a new meeting. You can save this information to use later.
  • Start an instant meeting: Join a meeting with one click. Once in the meeting, you can add others or copy the joining information to share. Note: Your camera and microphone will be on automatically if you select this option. You can turn them off once in the meeting.
  • Schedule in Google Calendar: Opens Google Calendar in a new tab to create an event with Meet conferencing details automatically populated.

Note: You may need to clear your browser’s cache before you see the change take effect over the next couple of weeks.

Now when you’re sharing your screen, Google Chrome will automatically hide the content of web pop-up notifications. This includes notifications from Google Chat, email notifications, and other third party websites. When you’re done sharing your screen, all muted notifications will be automatically displayed. (Note that notifications are already muted when sharing a tab in Google Meet.)

 Shows top right corner of a macOS device with multiple hidden Chrome notifications popping up.


Google is adding a range name box in Google Sheets, located to the left of the formula bar, to improve navigation. Previously, active cells were only indicated by a blue outline and could be located by scrolling or using the arrow keys. Now, you can use the range name box to jump directly to coordinates and named ranges in a sheet. Additionally, this box provides a drop-down menu to easily access, manage, and create new named ranges in the sheet. Visit the Google Help Center for more information on using named ranges in Google Sheets

Previously Communicated:

Google Drive File Stream is now Google Drive for desktop


Google has announced they are changing the name of Google Drive File Stream (GDFS) to Google Drive for desktop. You will begin to notice the new name across U-M Google as this change continues to roll out. Additionally, the desktop icon has been updated to the new Google Workspace visual branding. (Google Workspace is the new name for G Suite.)

Screenshot of Google Drive File Stream name change notification.

Note: The mount point path remains the same, so you can still find all your files in the same places, but shortcuts to the application have been renamed to “Google Drive.”

Visit the Google Workspace Learning Center to learn more about Google Drive for desktop and how to install it on your device.

Enable offline support for Google Calendar on the web


Soon, you will be able to enable offline support for Google Calendar using Google Chrome on your computer. During a time where most are working remotely, this will allow you to access your calendars even when you have unreliable internet access. When enabled, you can view your calendar and events from four weeks prior or any time in the future by day, week, or month.

Note: When you are offline you cannot create or edit events, email guests, or access Tasks or Reminders.

This feature will be OFF by default and can be enabled from your Google Calendar settings.

  1. From Google Calendar, click the gear icon in the top right corner and select Settings.
  2. Under General, select Offline.
  3. Check the Turn on offline calendar box.

Screenshot of Google Calendar General settings, under Offline.

Important: If you clear your browser’s cached images and files, it will also clear offline support for Google Calendar. You will need to turn on offline again to use Calendar offline.  

Visit the Google Help Center to learn more about using Google Calendar offline.

According to Google, this feature should begin showing up in U-M Google on February 8, 2021, and could take 15 days or longer to become fully visible.