U-M Google Updates

Google Currents will retire on July 5, 2023


Google has announced they will be retiring Google Currents on July 5, 2023. In an effort to consolidate the services they offer for collaboration, Google intends for individuals to transition from using Currents to Google Chat spaces. Similar to Currents, spaces provide a central place for teams to engage in topic-based discussions, share information, and build communities. Learn more about using spaces in Chat. Alternatively, you can also investigate other services which offer similar experiences, such as U-M Slack.

If you would like to keep an archive of your Currents data, you should export it using Google Takeout as soon as possible. Refer to Export your data from Google Currents for more information on what data will export and Download your Currents data for instructions on how to export it. After July 5, all data from Google Currents will be purged from Google’s systems, and the service will be shut down.

Coming soon: Move folders from My Drive to shared drives


According to Google, the ability to move folders from My Drive to shared drives in U-M Google will begin rolling out on April 11, 2023. This new feature could take several days or longer to become fully available. Previously, you could only move files to a shared drive from your My Drive.

Google Drive displays a dialog box after attempting to move a folder titled Project Sky and is asking for confirmation before moving

To move a My Drive folder to a shared drive, you must be an Editor on the folder and a Manager of the shared drive. Refer to the Google Drive Help Center for more information on moving folders to shared drives, including the limitations and errors you may encounter.

Please use caution when moving complex folder structures, as you will likely run into errors and unmovable files. This is most commonly associated with access and ownership issues. It’s also important to note that you cannot undo the move and revert back to the original folder structure after you’ve completed the move. For this reason, you should read the Google Drive Help Center article linked above before attempting to move complex folders to understand these potential pitfalls.

U-M Google February Monthly Summary


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


Google has introduced the ability to check and view a visual preview of multiple calendars when setting up your appointment schedules to help prevent scheduling conflicts. Your booking page will show you as unavailable when you’re busy based on the calendars you select. You can select any calendars you own, calendars you have edit and manage rights to, and subscribed calendars. Learn how to set up an appointment schedule and customize your appointment availability.

You can now share access to the content you’re presenting directly in Google Meet with attendees, including everyone on the Calendar guest list. While presenting, you can share the file from the floating action menu or via the suggestion in the Meet chat. Meeting attendees will see a notification when you’ve shared a file, and a link to the file will be automatically shared in the chat.

Google Meet session with white circle around new "Share in Meet chat" button

Additionally, whenever you paste a link into the meeting chat, you’ll now be prompted with the file access dialog. Learn more about presenting during a Meet session.

Google has introduced a new full screen experience for managing members in a Google Chat space that replaces the current "View members" and “Add people and apps” options. Upon clicking the new “Manage members” option, you can view a list of members added and invited to the space, add or remove members, and update settings. This update is currently only available on the web. Learn more about adding or removing people from a Chat space.

Google Chat space open to the new "Manage members" view

  • Expanding color options in Google Docs, Drawings, Sheets, and Slides

In Google Docs, Drawings, Sheets, and Slides, you can now select colors in the color palette tool by using RGBA values. In addition, you can customize colors by using an eyedropper tool and selecting any color on your screen within the color palette. Learn more about changing the colors of text, objects, and backgrounds.

Google Sheets will now automatically use regional-specific decimal separators based on your spreadsheet's locale. For example, in France, it is more common to use commas as decimal separators. Additionally, Google will now auto-detect semicolons (;) as a way to separate text into columns when importing CSV files into Sheets. (Previously, if you used commas (,) as your decimal separators and semicolons (;) as your text separators, you had to choose a custom delimiter and enter ";" for the import to properly split text to columns.) Learn more about changing a spreadsheet’s location & calculation settings, formatting numbers in a spreadsheet, and importing data sets and other spreadsheets in Sheets.

  • Changing the POWER function in Google Sheets

The POWER function in Google Sheets, which returns a number raised to a power, will now return a real-valued root when trying to take the odd root of a negative number. Learn more about the POWER function in Sheets.

User entering "=POWER" in a Google Sheet and showing how the updated function now works

  • New free-hand PDF annotation support in the Google Drive app on Android

You can now use your finger or a stylus to freely write annotations on a file shown in the Drive preview screen on Android devices. These annotations can be saved to the file if it is a PDF, or a PDF copy of the file can be made with the annotations saved to it. Learn more about annotating PDFs on Android devices.

  • Expanding noise cancelation in Google Meet

To limit distractions during meetings, Google Meet offers noise cancelation to filter out background noises. This functionality is now available in U-M Google. Previously, it wasn’t available in our domain.

  • View your peripheral devices directly in the Google Meet “green room”

Before joining a Google Meet session, you can now check which of your peripheral devices (e.g., camera, microphone, etc.) are available and connected. You can still view your peripheral devices via the settings menu, but this update makes it easier to select devices or identify potential issues.

Google has introduced a new feature in the Google Contacts section of the right-hand sidebar that allows you to create and edit contacts. Previously, visiting contacts.google.com was the only way to add or edit a contact.

  • 360-degree video backgrounds available for Google Meet on mobile

Google Meet users on mobile devices (Android and iOS) can now use several new 360-degree video backgrounds. These backgrounds use your device's gyroscope to create a dynamic experience that moves with you.

Previously Communicated:

None for the month of February!

New look and feel for Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides


Google has announced a new look and feel for Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides on the web beginning March 22, 2023.

In Drive, you’ll notice the following changes:

  • Key actions (such as share, download, and edit) surfaced in-line when hovering over files.
  • Ability to select multiple items at once and take batch operations for frequent tasks (such as share, download, and delete).
  • New search chips (including file type, owner, and last modified date) to help search for files.

In Google Drive, a user selects the new search chips from their homepage and finds a list of files that fit the criteria

In Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you’ll notice the following changes: 

  • A simplified user interface at the top of your documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows.
  • Additional user experience improvements in commenting, background, rulers, and gridlines.
  • Relocation of some features to reduce clutter within the new interface. Notably, you can find the latest status info for the document, such as last edit and version history, via the clock icon in the top right corner.

View of the new interface in Google Docs

According to Google, the refreshed user interface should begin appearing in U-M Google on March 22, 2023, and could take 3 days or longer to become fully visible.

Change to threading in Google Chat spaces


In 2022, Google introduced the ability to organize Google Chat spaces with in-line threading, similar to Slack’s functionality. Starting March 13, 2023, all newly created spaces in Chat will be in-line threaded. You will no longer have the option to organize them by conversation topic, where related messages and replies were grouped together in the main conversation window. Existing spaces organized by conversation topic will continue to function as they do today. However, later this year, existing conversation topic spaces will be migrated to the new in-line threaded experience. More information will be communicated once Google makes the announcement of when this will occur. Learn more about when to use and how to organize a Chat space.

Someone is in a Google Chat space and clicks Replies on a message to open the thread to the right of the conversation

According to Google, this change should begin appearing in U-M Google on March 13, 2023, and could take 15 days or longer to roll out to everyone.