U-M Google Updates

U-M Google September Monthly Summary


The monthly U-M Google summaries inform the university community of new Google releases and previously communicated updates.


Google has improved the notifications you see when editing a Microsoft Office-formatted file in Google Drive. These improvements include:

  • An Office-formatted warning symbol for compatibility details that will appear while working within a document, spreadsheet, or slide deck. This indicates potential compatibility issues or if any Office features are unavailable.
  • An option to easily view and restore earlier versions of the document, spreadsheet, or slide deck.

Learn more about working with Office files using Office editing

Google has introduced a new feature in Google Sheets called “named functions.” Named functions allow you to create custom functions that support built-in Sheets formula constructs. To maintain reusability across files, you can also import named functions from existing Sheets files.

Walkthrough of creating a new named function in a Google Sheets spreadsheet

In Sheets, navigate to Data > Named functions > Add new function to create your new function. You can then enter your custom formula into a Sheets’ cell as you would any other formula.

Named functions created in a Sheets file are available only in that file. To use named functions in another Sheet, select that file via Data > Named functions > Import function. Learn more about named functions in Sheets

  • Quickly mute/unmute yourself with the spacebar in Meet

To quickly unmute yourself during a Google Meet call, you can now hold down the spacebar to be unmuted, then release the spacebar to return to a muted state. This feature is off by default and can be enabled in your Google Meet settings. During a session, click the three-dots icon next to the red Leave call button, select Settings, and toggle Push to talk to ON (in the Audio tab).

To search for and add emojis directly inline with text in Docs, follow one of the options below: 

  • Type “@:” or “:” to see a drop-down list of emojis and the option to navigate to the entire catalog of emojis.
  • Type “@” followed by a descriptor, such as “@smile,” to search for a specific emoji.

Learn more about inserting emojis and special characters in Docs.

Walkthrough of using @ to insert an emoji in a Google Doc

  • Insert Google Maps "place chips" into Google Docs 

Last year, Google added the ability for you to insert a Google Maps “place chip” into a Google Doc by pasting a Maps link directly into the document. Now, you can insert place chips into your Docs using “@[address or place name].” Learn more about using place chips in Docs.

  • Notification permissions now required for devices running Android 13

Upon upgrading your Android device to the latest Android 13 release, you will have to explicitly accept notification permissions to receive Google Chat and Gmail notifications. Learn more about notification permissions on Android 13

You can now share meeting artifacts (such as attendance reports, other documents, etc.) directly with the meeting co-hosts in Google Meet. Previously, some Meet features would generate meeting artifacts that were only shared with the meeting host.

To share meeting artifacts directly with the co-hosts, the primary host needs to: 

  • Add individuals as co-hosts when setting up or editing the event in Google Calendar.
  • Check the “Call artifacts are shared with the host and co-hosts you add here” box when you add co-hosts in Calendar.

Google Meet video call options menu

Learn more about sharing meeting artifacts with co-hosts in Meet

You will now see options for Spanish, French, and Portuguese while using Smart Reply in Google Chat. When you are typing a reply, Smart Reply will automatically detect the language and offer responses accordingly.

  • Send multiple images or videos at a time in Chat

You can now select more than one image or video at a time when sending a message in Google Chat.

  • Multi-pinning available for Meet on Android and iOS

Earlier this year, Google added multi-pinning for Google Meet on Chrome. You can now use multi-pinning on Android and iOS devices, too. With this feature, you can pin up to three participants’ video tiles at once to keep them fixed on your screen. Learn more about multi-pinning in Meet

You can now use spacers to add empty space to your Google Sites in specific places. In a Site draft, add spacers by clicking Spacer from the Insert panel on the right. Learn more about adding a spacer between elements in Sites.

Users of screen readers can now type a keyboard shortcut to verbalize the content/details of a Google Calendar event, such as the title, date and time, guest list, and more.

Use the following keyboard combinations: 

  • ALT+{number} for Windows 
  • Option+{number} for Mac
  • ALT+SHIFT+{number} for ChromeOS 

Learn more about the new Google Calendar keyboard shortcut for screen reader users.

Previously Communicated:

None for the month of September!

Notice: Google Hangouts will finally retire on November 1, 2022


Over the last few years, Google has been slowly retiring classic Google Hangouts in favor of its replacements: Google Chat and Meet. As part of the final stage of the retirement of Hangouts, classic Hangouts on the web will redirect to Google Chat on the web, and Hangouts will no longer be accessible beginning November 1, 2022.

According to Google, some conversations won’t automatically migrate from classic Hangouts to Chat. If you would like to keep an archive of your old conversations (including any files sent via Hangouts) in case they did not migrate from Hangouts to Chat, you can do so by using Google Takeout. You will have until January 1, 2023, to export and download your classic Hangouts data before it is purged from Google’s systems and the service is shut off.

Learn how to use Google Takeout to export and download your classic Hangouts data.

U-M Google August Monthly Summary


The monthly U-M Google summaries inform the university community of new Google releases and previously communicated updates.


In Google Docs, you can now choose to receive email notifications for document changes on a per-file basis. New notification emails detail what changes/edits were made, when the changes/edits were made, and who made them. Learn more about enabling “edit notifications” for Google Docs.

Example notification email for Google Docs edits

In the Google Chat emoji picker, your most frequently used emojis can now be found under the new “Frequently Used” section.

  • Extending grammar features to German

Google has expanded their grammar features in Gmail and Docs to include German.

You can now select a new RSVP join method that’s integrated with your working location. With the new option, Calendar will automatically update how you intend to join the meeting if your working location changes. In addition, others will now see your working location or out-of-office status directly in the guest list section of a Calendar event to which you’re invited. Learn more about setting your working hours and location and responding to event invitations.

New Google Calendar RSVP join option

You can now toggle between mute and unmute using headsets, speaker microphones, and other USB peripheral devices in Google Meet. This feature is currently only supported in Google Chrome or Chromium-based web browsers. Call control will work with most USB telephony peripherals, however, the experience may differ from device to device. Bluetooth devices are not supported at this time. Call control can be found under the Call Control section of your Meet settings (before and during a call). Learn more about Meet-certified headsets or speaker microphones.

  • Seamlessly delete subsets of Google Sites

Google Site editors can now delete a page with subpages and delete pages that were copied into another site during a partial site copy.

You’re now able to adjust your accessibility preferences for each product separately in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings. In your document, spreadsheet, slide deck, or drawing, navigate to Tools > Accessibility > and select your preferred settings.

Google Site editors can now insert stylized social media links into pages within their site. Learn more about inserting social links in a Site.

Inserting new social links into a Google Site

Previously Communicated:

No updates this month!

U-M Google July Monthly Summary


The monthly U-M Google summaries inform the university community of new Google releases and previously communicated updates.


You can now view participants who were invited to the meeting but have yet to join the call from within Google Meet. These participants can be found under the “Also invited” heading in the People section. Additionally, you can also view the RSVP status of everyone on the invite, including optional attendees and RSVP notes. From here, you can reach out to invited participants via Google Chat to confirm whether they will be joining directly from Meet.

Google Meet call in browser showing the People tab with a list of individuals in call and invited

Rich text formatting is now available in Google Forms, which allows you to use bolding, underlining, italicizing, hyperlinks, and lists in titles, question titles, and descriptions. Learn more about formatting text in your form

Google has added additional font styles, sizing options, and the ability to customize header, subheader, and body text separately in Google Forms. This update allows you to use different typefaces and sizes for different parts of your form.

Site editors in new Google Sites can now adjust the spacing between the content on their site with a custom theme setting that offers Compact, Cozy, or Comfortable spacing options. By default, all newly created sites will start with the Comfortable setting. To edit spacing in a new Site, navigate to Themes > Custom > Edit > Spacing > Density.

  • Drag out from Keep

You can now insert images saved in your Keep notes into other apps by dragging them out from the image carousel on Android devices. Learn more about using Keep on Android.

Google has increased the number of members you can add to a space in Google Chat from 400 to 8,000. This change only applies to newly created spaces.

In Google Chat, Space Managers can now change access to new and existing spaces by making them either “Restricted” or “Discoverable.” To change access in a space, click the name of your space, select View Members from the drop-down menu, click the drop-down arrow under the Space Access section, and select either Restricted or University of Michigan (i.e., Discoverable).

Google has added a new Share button to appointment schedules on web and mobile. This update allows appointment hosts to copy a short link to all appointment schedules or a specific booking page, or add HTML to embed a booking page on a website.

Google Calendar and the new Share your booking page dialog

Google Chat Space Managers can now delete a space, which removes all owned content of the space, space tasks, and files/attachments not saved elsewhere. In addition, members will no longer be able to access the space, its files, tasks, or the member list after the space has been deleted. To delete a space, click the name of your space and select Delete space from the drop-down menu. Learn more about deleting a space in Google Chat

You can now select an option to display events on your Google Calendar only if they come from a sender you know. If you select this option, you will still receive email event invitations from unknown senders, but they appear on your calendar only after you accept.

Senders you know include:

  • People at the University of Michigan (i.e., @umich.edu)
  • People in your contacts list
  • People you’ve interacted with before

The default option is invitations from everyone, and you can still choose to have all invitations appear on your calendar or only those you’ve accepted.

Learn more about managing your incoming invitations and notifications in Google Calendar.

Google Calendar Settings, "Add invitations to my calendar" option highlighted

Previously Communicated:

Coming soon: Visual changes to email compose fields in Gmail

U-M Google June Monthly Summary


The monthly U-M Google summaries inform the university community of new Google releases and previously communicated updates.


In Google Docs, you can now make multiple text selections and apply actions such as delete, copy, paste, or format to all selections at once. To make multiple text selections, triple-click the first text selection to highlight it, and then while holding down the Ctrl or Cmd key, triple-click on any other text selections. When done, you can then take action on all text selections at once.

Selecting multiple text snippets and formatting them all at once in Google Docs

Editors of new Google Sites can now add content as a full page from the following sources: custom code, other websites, and Google apps such as Maps and Docs. Previously, editors could only add these elements as part of a page. Learn more about embedding content in new Google Sites.

You can now use familiar keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + C (or Cmd + C on Mac), Ctrl + X, and Ctrl + V to cut, copy, and paste Google Drive files in your Chrome browser. Additional things to note:

  • A link to the file and its title will be captured when copying, so you can paste the file directly into a document or email.
  • Ctrl + C, Ctrl + Shift + V will create shortcuts to keep files in multiple locations organized without creating duplicate files.
  • Open files or folders in a new tab using Ctrl + Enter to view multiple files at once.

Multiple examples of using keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + C to cut, copy, and paste files in Google Drive

In addition to seeing a file’s name, owner, modification date, and size, Google has added a column to include location information in the Search, Recent, Starred, and Trash Google Drive views on the web.

Google Drive search results with a file's location selected from the new location column

In Google Tasks, you can now mark important tasks with a star (similar to functionality that currently exists in Drive). Additionally, you’ll be able to view or sort your starred items across various task lists in the new starred view.

  • Set a custom duration for "Do Not Disturb" in Google Chat 

You can now set the duration of your "Do Not Disturb" status in Google Chat to a specific date and time. This feature is now available on the web, Android, and iOS devices. Learn more about changing your Google Chat status.

Google has refreshed the layout of email notifications sent by Google Calendar to make key event details more accessible. In addition, when you receive an email notifying you of a modification to an event, such as a time or location change, it will display both the old and updated information.

Google has updated the experience for removing participants from a meeting in Google Meet. Now, when a host or co-host removes a participant from a call, they will be prompted with additional actions. Specifically, they can opt to: 

  • Remove the user from the call
  • Fill out an additional abuse report 
  • Block the user from rejoining (Only use the “block” functionality when absolutely necessary)

Learn more about adding or removing people from a Google Meet video call.

Picture-in-picture mode and multi-pinning are now available in Google Meet in Chrome web browsers. You’ll be able to see up to four video tiles of meeting attendees in a floating window on top of other applications. Additionally, you can now pin multiple video feeds. Learn more about multi-tasking with picture-in-picture mode in Meet.

Entering Picture in Picture mode while using Google Meet in the Chrome web browser to navigate to different tabs while still paying attention to the meeting

You can now print personal and Google Chat spaces Task lists on the web. Learn more about printing your Google Tasks

In 2019, Google released the ability to edit Microsoft Office files in Docs, Sheets, and Slides and sync Docs, Sheets, and Slides for offline use. Google has now announced the ability to sync your opened Microsoft Office files offline via Google Drive on your desktop. (Note: This change only applies to files that have already been opened in Office editing mode.) Learn more about enabling offline access in Google Drive.

Previously Communicated: