U-M Google Updates

New Google Contacts!


Over the next few months, Google will completely replace old Google Contacts with new Google Contacts (also known as Contacts preview).

New Contacts launched in 2015 and Google added many features since then. With the recent launch of contacts delegation, new Contacts now has many comparable features from old Contacts, and more.

As a result, new Contacts will replace the older version, and it will be the only Google Contacts version after February 12, 2019. Similar to the new Gmail, the replacement process will take place in two stages:

Stage 1: Everyone upgraded to new Contacts, with the option to opt out

On January 15, 2019, new Contacts will automatically become the default version in our domain. When this happens, anyone using old Contacts will be moved to new Contacts. Individuals will still be able to revert back to old Contacts if they want until stage 2 (see below).
switch back menu

Stage 2: All users upgraded to new Contacts, old Contacts turned off

On February 12, 2019, old Contacts will be turned off completely, and anyone remaining in old Contacts will be moved to new Contacts. There will be no option to use the old version.

U-M Google November Summary


The monthly U-M Google Summaries  inform campus of Google releases for Core Apps as well as the Non-Core Apps (those that are not part of the G Suite for Education agreement). We communicate important information on Core Apps throughout the month. Core and Non-Core Apps are listed on the G Suite website.

Core Apps:

  • Changes to the Google sign-in interface
    Starting November 27, 2018, Google began to make some small changes to the appearance of the Google sign-in page. These follow changes made earlier this year, which updated the sign-in page to match other Google products. Specifically, you might notice outlines around some entry fields, and changes to the spacing and styling of other text on both the web and mobile screens. According to Google, the changes could take up to two weeks to reach all of campus. See the new Sign in screen.
  • Activity Dashboard is one click away in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings
    Google added an Activity dashboard icon (a jagged arrow pointing upward) next to the comments button in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

activity dashboard icon

Clicking the icon opens the dashboard, where you can analyze time statistics and adjust privacy and document settings. Hovering over the icon enables you to view the information others can see about you in the Activity Dashboard. To learn more about seeing the view history of your Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files, consult the Help Center.

Previously Communicated:

Note: Keep in mind that even when Non-Core Apps (like Add-ons) are found in a Core App (like Google Drive), they are not covered by the G Suite for Education agreement.

Google Calendar SMS Notifications Ending


Google has announced that starting January 7, 2019, SMS notifications from Google Calendar will no longer be available. Calendar will still offer in-app notifications, regardless of your device or connection.

If you had previously been receiving Calendar notifications via SMS, they’ll be replaced with in-app and email notifications. You’ll see these notifications:

  • As event notifications in a web browser that has Calendar open or a mobile device if you have the Google Calendar app for Android or iOS.
  • In an email if you had set up SMS notifications for new events, changed events, canceled events, or event responses.

Google will also be making some changes to the Calendar API to support this change. Check out the Google Developers’ page to learn more.

Learn more about different Calendar event & notification settings in the G Suite Help Center.

Gmail Offline Chrome App Removed


Google has heard feedback that people want to use the same Gmail app whether they’re online or off. A new offline feature makes that possible, allowing you to search, write, delete, and archive up to 90 days of messages, even when you don’t have an internet connection.

This native capability is easier to use and performs better than the Gmail Offline Chrome app, so Google is removing it from the Chrome Web Store after December 3, 2018. This is part of Google’s ongoing effort to move Chrome apps to the web.

In preparation, we recommend the following to use Gmail offline:

  1. Enable Gmail offline in the Gmail settings.
  2. Uninstall the Gmail Offline Chrome app (instructions included in the link in step 1).

To access Gmail while offline, use a Chrome web browser (v61 or higher).
Note: Gmail offline is only available in the new Gmail.

Add captions in Google Slides


You can now show automated closed captions in real-time when presenting in Google Slides. This feature uses your computer’s microphone to detect your spoken presentation, and then transcribes what you say as captions on the slides you’re presenting. This should make your presentations more effective in more environments to a wider audience.

Captions created automatically from your audio 
If you turn captions on, Google Slides will use the audio from your microphone to automatically create captions of what you say. These captions will display in real time at the bottom of your screen to all audience members watching the presentation. This will work for local presentations and for presentations over video conferencing software, where captions will show on the shared screen.

The feature works in U.S. English on Chrome browsers. Captions are created from the presenter’s computer and its microphone, so captions may not work consistently if there are multiple presenters using different computers. You may want to let the audience know that captions are from Google Slides, not the video conferencing software, and that only the speaker's voice is captioned.

Helps improve accessibility and in environments where it’s hard to hea
This feature can help make your presentation more effective for:

  • Audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing 
  • Non-native speakers and/or audience members who prefer written content 
  • In venues with poor audio or in noisy ambient environments

To find out how to turn on and use automated captions in Slides, visit the G Suite Help Center.