U-M Google Updates

The new Google Sites is now the default


Google has changed the default landing page for Google Sites. Now when you visit sites.google.com, instead of taking you to classic Sites, you will be taken to new Sites.

Screenshot of the notification you receive when you go to sites.google.com for the first time

If you want to continue to use or manage your classic Sites, you can still do so by visiting sites.google.com/classic or clicking the button in the lower-left corner of the new Sites page:

Screenshot of the "Back to Classic Sites" button at sites.google.com

This change began showing up in U-M Google on May 20, 2020, but it may take some time to become fully visible to everyone in the domain.

Learn more about new Google Sites:

Additional improvements to Google Meet


Google has released several new features for Google Meet that will make remote learning and collaboration more seamless.

Meeting control features:

You can now Mute or Remove/Hang Up a meeting participant if you are the meeting host. Only the meeting creator or Google Calendar event owner will be allowed to mute or remove/hang up other participants in a meeting. This ensures that the host can't be removed or muted by others participating in the Meet session. See Hangouts Meet improvements for remote learning for more information.

Tiled layout:

You can now see up to 16 people on your screen at the same time in Google Meet with the Tiled layout option. This feature is currently only available in Meet on the web.

To change the layout:

  1. Click the three dots in the lower-right corner.
  2. Select Change layout.
  3. Select Tiled.

High-quality audio/video sharing:

You can now share high-quality videos with audio content in a Google Meet session by using the new Present option to share “A Chrome tab”. Now, when you use this feature with video content playing, everyone in the meeting will see and hear the video and audio being shared. Note: This feature does not work if you’re presenting a browser window or your whole computer screen. Visit the G Suite Learning Center to learn more about presenting videos during Google Meet sessions.

GIF showing how to share a Chrome tab in Google Meet

According to Google, these features should be available now in U-M Google.

U-M Google April Monthly Summary


The monthly U-M Google summaries inform the university community 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.

New Updates:

New Google Sites (sites.google.com/new) now offers ten Google-made templates and the option to add announcement banners to your sites. Google has built ten templates for common site uses (similar to pre-made templates in Drive) which are available in 16 languages. With one click, you can start a site suited for a specific purpose with a professional look and feel. Then, you can customize the site to make it your own. Note: At this time, users are still unable to create custom templates for use in new Google Sites, a feature that is only available in classic Google Sites.

Announcement banners help site owners communicate timely and important messages to visitors. They display information in a banner at the top of the site, grabbing viewers’ attention when they land on the site. Visit the Google Sites Help Center to learn more about how to add an announcement banner to a site.

Google Meet on mobile devices will now automatically enhance your video to adapt to low-light conditions. Video enhancements will begin five seconds after entering an area with low-light. As your lighting conditions change, Meet will intelligently adapt to ensure your video is as ideal as it can be. This feature will be ON by default for the Google Meet mobile app (Android/iOS). To turn low-light mode off, you can do so in the Settings menu during a Meet session.

Previously Communicated:

Create shortcuts to any file/folder in Google Drive


Shortcuts in Google Drive make it easier to organize content and point collaborators to relevant information and files across various drives. Shortcuts are pointers to content that can be stored in another folder or drive, a shared drive, or an individual user's “My Drive.”

GIF showing how to create a new shortcut in Google Drive

Shortcut visibility and sharing permissions 

Shortcuts are visible to anyone who has access to the folder or drive containing the shortcut. However, even if someone can see the shortcut, they can only open it if they have the appropriate access and permissions to the original file/folder.

Simplifying the appearance of files/folders in multiple locations 

In order to create a consistent experience for managing and viewing reference files across Google Drive, Google has changed the “Add to My Drive” icon option to “Add shortcut to Drive”.

Screenshot of the new button for adding shortcuts in Google Drive from within a file

Changes to Drive’s folder structure and sharing model

Starting September 30, 2020, it will no longer be possible to place a file in multiple folders in My Drive. From then on, every file will live in a single location. In addition, all files already living in multiple locations in My Drive will gradually be changed to shortcuts. There is no action needed on your part nor should you expect to run into issues during Google’s migration.

Visit the Google Drive Help Center for more information on how to use Google Drive shortcuts.

According to Google, this feature began showing up in the web version of U-M Google Drive on April 15 and could take 15 days or longer to become fully visible. The feature should already be available for use in the Google Drive iOS/Android mobile app, Google Drive File Stream, and Google Backup and Sync.

Start or join a Google Meet from Gmail


Google has announced they will integrate Google Meet into Gmail, making it easier to create a session and stay connected right from your inbox.

Screenshot of Gmail with an emphasis around the new Google Meet integration

When you select Start a meeting, a new window opens with a secure, unique Google Meet URL. When you select Join a meeting, you will be prompted to enter a Google Meet meeting code or meeting nickname to quickly join another session. To learn more about Google Meet, visit U-M Google’s service page and Getting Started with Google Meet.

This feature is currently only available in Gmail on the web but is coming soon to the Gmail mobile app.

According to Google, this feature should begin showing up in U-M Google on April 30 and could take 15 days or longer to become fully visible.