U-M Google Updates

Google Quick Access Sidebar


Google is adding a quick-access sidebar to the Docs editors and Google Calendar to help you quickly access other G Suite products without leaving what you’re working on. A similar sidebar is a feature of the new Gmail.

You’ll be able to access three G Suite products from Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings:

  • Google Calendar: Quickly reference, create or edit invites.
  • Google Keep: Easily take notes, create lists, and see your other content.
  • Google Tasks: Manage your tasks and to-dos.

You’ll also see the sidebar in Google Calendar, where you’ll be able to use Keep and Tasks.

screenshot of google sidepanel

The quick access sidebar is slowly rolling out over the UMICH domain over the next 15 days.

Google announces cutover dates for the new Gmail


Google recently announced the following dates for the rollout of the new Gmail interface:

  • September 18: Google automatically switches everyone to new Gmail. Users can still revert to “classic Gmail” for one month.
  • October 16: Everyone will be permanently switched to new Gmail and “classic Gmail” will no longer be available.

Users can currently opt in to the new Gmail and are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new interface prior to September 18. You can enable the new look and features by clicking on the Settings gear icon, then selecting “Try the new University of Michigan Mail.” New features include:

  • smart replies (similar to the Gmail mobile version)
  • the option to snooze emails (as with Google Inbox)
  • a new tool panel on the right side of the interface for easy access to Tasks (also revamped) and Calendar

Google officially released the new Gmail interface in July after a period of testing and feedback through its Early Adopter Program, which U-M had participated in since June. To learn more, visit the new Gmail resource page and watch a recording of the IT4U webinar on using the new Gmail.

Classic to New Sites Conversion Tool


Google’s automatic migration tool to transfer from Google classic Sites to new Sites has started showing up in the UMICH domain. The tool makes it quicker and easier to move sites by automatically creating a draft of the classic Site in new Sites. This new draft will have the updated look and feel of new Sites, and contain the content from the classic Site. When the new Google Site is ready to go live, it can either be published to the URL of the classic Site (to replace the original and automatically redirect viewers,) or published to a new URL.

You can use the Help Center to find out more about how to convert a classic Site to a new Site and what to expect when you convert a site.

New Out of Office Google Calendar Features


Google has updated Google Calendar with a new out of office option and customizable working hours.

Indicating out of office time

When creating an event on the web, select the “Out of office” Calendar entry type. The out of office option will have a different look on the Calendar, showing others your availability. Meetings during times you are unavailable will be automatically declined. The decline message can be customized and you can edit the visibility of your out of office indicator.

Note: Based on the title you enter, Google Calendar may automatically try to guess the best event type when you’re creating an out of office indicator. You can always correct what Google suggests for an event type, if needed.

Out of Office

Showing work hours

Once you have set your work hours, people who try to schedule meetings with you outside of your hours will be informed that you are not available. 

Note: Based on your timezone and past scheduling patterns, Google Calendar may guess your working hours. You might see a prompt asking you to set them, and you can further customize them as needed. 

U-M Google June 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

Previously Communicated

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