Google updates for LionMail

Check out this page for highlights of upgrades and changes to Columbia's G Suite implementation, which includes LionMail, Calendar, Drive and more.

G Suite apps currently under evaluation

See our Google Apps for LionMail page for a list of the applications enabled by CUIT outside of the core set of Google services (Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Drive).

  • Adwords
  • Sites
  • Team Drive
  • Jamboard

Recent G Suite updates

For a full report on updates from Google, see the official G Suite Update Blog. Please note that Columbia's G Suite administrators do not offer all G Suite features for a variety of reasons, including security, data protection and support.

Quick launch summary

Users often need to see the word count in the documents they write. Instead of going to Tools > Word Count each time you want to view this information, now, you can simply select Tools > Word count > Display word count while typing to continuously display it in the lower left corner of your doc:

What’s changing

Now, when you have an Out of office (OOO) entry on your calendar, a notice of that OOO status will appear in Gmail and Hangouts Chat when people try to contact you.

In Gmail, we’ll show a banner about the recipient being out of office and when they’ll be back in the email compose window.

In Hangouts Chat, you’ll also see a small notification in the chat compose window alerting you that the person you’re trying to message is out of office.

OOO notifications in Google Hangouts and Gmail

Why you’d use it

With this launch, before people even hit “send,” your time out of office is visible in more places across G Suite, meaning you get more uninterrupted time away. As a sender, you’ll also have more confidence that you’re messaging people at an appropriate time.

Additional details

If you’d like to disable sharing of availability information to other G Suite apps, you can do so in Calendar under Calendar settings > Access permissions. Just deselect “Show calendar info in other Google apps, limited by access permissions.”

Quick launch summary

The Google Fonts team has teamed up with Thomas Jockin to create a series of fonts that are aimed at improving reading speed. To learn more about the research behind this initiative, see here for more details.

Example of the new, more readable font, available in Google Suite

These fonts take into account typographical factors, such as size and spacing, that the font developers hope will improve reading speed. This can be particularly helpful for educators who want to leverage new tools that can improve reading among their students, especially those who are sensitive to visual crowding.

We now offer eight different Lexend font families that have varied widths and spacing, so users can choose the font style that’s best for their reading speed.

To access these fonts in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides:

  • From the Font menu in the toolbar, select “More fonts”.
  • Then, search for Lexend and select the fonts to add them to your saved fonts. These will now appear in the “My fonts” list and in the Font menu in the toolbar. 

On/off by default?

  • These fonts will be available by default.

What’s changing

Earlier this year, Google announced the launch of Gmail confidential mode for G Suite in beta. On June 25, 2019, this feature will become generally available and Gmail users will have the option to send emails with confidential mode. Columbia enabled this feature for LionMail on July 1, 2019

Why you’d use it

Confidential mode provides built-in information rights management controls in your emails by allowing senders to create expiration dates and revoke previously sent messages. Because a sender can require additional authentication via text message to view an email, it’s also possible to protect data even if a recipient’s email account has been hijacked while the message is active. Additionally, with confidential mode, recipients don’t have the option to forward, copy, print, or download their content or attachments.

What’s changing

In May 2019, we’ll make some changes to the settings in Google Groups. In response to your ongoing feedback, we are updating Groups’ settings to make it easier for you and your users to manage and configure groups. Specifically, we will remove settings and features that are rarely used, and combine settings that cover similar functionality. These changes will affect the interface and also the APIs used to manage groups.

Your existing groups may be affected by the upcoming settings changes. When the changes take effect, we’ll update the settings for existing groups. These updates may change how groups can be accessed and used.

Use this Help Center article to see details of these changes and see how you can prepare for the update.

The changes will start to roll out on May 6, and may take up to 15 days to reach all domains.

What’s changing 
Hangouts Meet is launching adaptive layouts that automatically adjust to give you the best view of the people and presentations in your meeting:

The spotlight layout keeps the focus on the presentation or a single speaker. It’s used when you’re in a meeting with just one other participant, when you pin someone, and when there’s a presentation but no active speakers with video on.

The tiled layout shows up to four participants on the screen to make your meetings feel more inclusive. This will be the default for smaller meetings when there is no presentation.

Side by side 
The side by side layout shows up to three speakers in a larger format next to the presentation. This allows you to continue to see the presenter as they speak. This is the default when there’s a presentation and there are active speakers with video on.

The sidebar layout improves on the existing Meet layout by showing several additional participants in the same vertical space and using rectangular feeds to avoid participants on the edge being cropped out. This will be the default for larger meetings when there is no presentation.

In addition to seeing these layouts automatically used depending on the meeting needs, users can select a preferred layout from the Change layout dialog.

What’s changing 
It’s now possible for users to work on Docs, Sheets, and Slides files when your device is offline or have a bad internet connection within Google Drive. You can also preview which files are available offline with a new offline preview mode.

Why you’d use it 
We know it’s important for users to access and work on their files while traveling or when there’s low connectivity. With offline mode, it’s now possible to create, edit, and comment on Docs, Sheets, or Slides files. Any changes made to files while offline will then sync in Drive once the user is connected again.

How to get started 
To work with your files while offline, you’ll need to enable offline access in your Drive settings:

  • From Google Drive, click the gear icon at the top right corner, select Settings > General and select Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.
  • Once offline access is enabled, a checkmark icon will appear in the top right next to Settings (gear icon) and Support (question mark). When you click this icon, you can find the offline preview toggle. 

Additional details 
To make files available offline in Google Drive, right click on any file and toggle Available offline from the menu while connected.

When offline access is enabled, Google Drive also automatically and intelligently makes a certain number of Google Docs/Sheets/Slides files available offline based on how recently you accessed them. You can preview which files are already available offline automatically using the offline preview mode. You can also mark a file available offline, so that it always remains available offline, while in offline preview mode, as long as you are connected.

The Google Docs Offline extension, which is made available by default to all Chrome users, is still required.

What’s changing
We’re launching several new features and tools that will help you create more compelling and stylized reports in Sheets:

  • Guides 
  • Multi-Selecting Objects 
  • Enhanced Pivot Table Insertion 
  • Copy and paste images into Sheets 
  • Formula backed charts inserted from Answers

Why you’d use it
We hope these tools will help you make more engaging and informative reports by making it easier and faster to format charts, pivot tables, images, and more.


  • You can use guides to help you align, size, and position various objects within your sheets. Guides are also helpful in making sure multiple objects within the same sheet are in proportion to one another. 

Multi-selecting objects 

  • To select multiple charts, drawings, and images to move, resize, or delete in bulk, hold down the Control or Shift key and select. 

Enhanced pivot table insertion 

  • When adding a new pivot table, you’ll now have the option to either place it in a new sheet or in a custom location on an existing sheet. 
    • To create a new pivot table, go to Data > Pivot Table and select a data range. 
    • In the dialogue box, under Insert to, select New sheet or Existing sheet, and click Create. Note that if you select existing sheet, you’ll have to select a specific cell location for the pivot table. 

Copy and paste images into Sheets 

  • Recently, we made it easier to add images to your spreadsheet by inserting images into cells. Now, you can copy images from other websites and paste them directly into your sheet. 
    • Simply right click on an image and hit copy, then in Sheets right click and hit Paste to insert the image over the grid. 

Formula backed charts inserted from Answers

  • Now, when you use Sheets Explore to create charts, the charts you insert from the Q&A feature (Answers) will be backed by formulas. This means that charts will automatically update if the underlying data changes, ensuring you always have a fresh chart with the latest information.

What’s changing
We’re updating the creation flow for meetings in Calendar to help you save time with an easier way to schedule.
You’ll see several changes when creating a meeting such as:

  • Peek at calendars and automatically add guests: Now, when you add a calendar in the “Search for people” box, you can temporarily view coworkers’ calendars. Creating a new event then automatically adds those people as guests to your meeting and might suggest a title for the meeting.
  • More fields in the creation pop-up dialog: The Guests, Rooms, Location, Conferencing, and Description fields are now editable directly in the meeting creation pop-up dialog. Once you add your coworkers’ calendars, they’ll load right in the background, making it even easier and faster to find an available time for everyone.

Why you’d use it
People-first scheduling makes it quick and easy to find time with others. You can add rooms, a location, a video conference and add a meeting description without having to click into “More options.”

What’s changing  

We’ve made it simpler to add images inside of cells in Google Sheets. Previously, it was only possible to insert publicly hosted images into a cell using the IMAGE function.

Now, you can insert any image, like those saved on your desktop or mobile device, into a cell by using the IMAGE function or the new option found inside the Insert menu.

Why you’d use it 

  • You’ve told us this feature would be helpful for many tasks like: 
  • Adding receipts to expense-tracking spreadsheets 
  • Adding icons to icon libraries 
  • Adding logos to better brand your resources 
  • Adding product images to inventory lists, and more. 

How to get started 

  • You can add images directly to cells in two ways on Desktop: 
  • Use the IMAGE() function 
  • Via the menu bar at the top of a Sheet: Insert > Image > Image in cell 
  • Select image from Drive or upload one. 
  • On Mobile: 
    • Tap once on a cell to select 
    • Tap again to bring up menu: Insert > Tap the “+” at the top of the screen > Image > Image in cell 
    • Select an image from the options presented to you. 

Additional details 

You can have multiple cells containing an image in a Sheet, but note that only one image per cell is possible at the moment. 

Images inside cells will be associated with a row and move along with the data—so, if you move rows, filter or sort them, the images will move with the content in the row, unlike previously when images would sit on top of the grid. 

Using the formatting and alignment tools, you can pin the image to a specific corner of the cell or set the alignment how you’d like. By default, images will align to the bottom left corner of the cell.

What’s changing  

Google Drive is getting a new look and feel on iOS and Android, making it easier to communicate and collaborate across files in Drive on mobile devices.

This Material redesign is part of a larger effort to bring the look and feel of our G Suite apps together as a whole, with ease-of-use in mind.

Some improvements you’ll see include:

  • New Home tab and bottom navigation 
  • Expanded search bar 
  • My Drive, Team Drives and Computers in Files view 
  • New account switching experience 
  • Revised actions menu 

What’s changing

You’ll now be able to delete your conversation history of 1:1 direct messages in Hangouts Chat. These deletions apply to 1:1 conversations between classic Hangouts and Hangouts Chat in both directions. Please note, you’re only deleting your copy of the conversation history. Other users will still be able to see the chat.

What’s changing

As part of the migration from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Meet that we announced last year, we’ll now begin migrating the video conferencing for your recurring Calendar events from classic Hangouts to Meet. Previously, we made the change so that new events scheduled in Calendar will use Meet. Now this change is to update previously scheduled events in Calendar as well.

Why we’re migrating

We've built Hangouts Meet to have a fast, simple interface with enterprise grade meeting functionality such as livestreaming and meeting with up to 100 people. To ensure you get the best-in-class experience we’re migrating the remainder of your existing recurring Calendar events. This will happen gradually in an effort to limit any disruption and ensure that you can focus on what’s important: meetings where people can be as productive as they are when they’re face-to-face.

How to get started

When you join a recurring Calendar event on classic Hangouts, you will see a banner that future occurrences of this meeting will be on Meet.

Additional details

Migrating existing Calendar events
This change will take place gradually as users join affected meetings. They will see a migration banner notifying them future occurrences will be on Meet. After the end of the call, all participants will get an updated event information with the new meeting details. Single instance (non-recurring) Calendar events will remain unchanged.

If your meeting doesn’t migrate
Some of your meetings may not automatically update to Meet. When this happens, you’ll see a banner in the video call notifying end users to update the Calendar event to Meet. This may happen for complex Calendar event setups, such as if different events have the same video link.

Quick launch summary

Earlier this year we introduced a beta for new grammar suggestions in Google Docs. Now we’re making this feature available for G Suite Basic, Business, and Enterprise users*.

The new features enhance existing spell check functions and highlight possible grammatical errors in your text. We’re also introducing a revamped interface for reviewing spelling and grammar suggestions which makes it faster and easier to spot and correct errors in your text.

Some improvements you’ll see are:

  • Grammar
    • Possible grammar corrections will be underlined in blue. To see a suggested correction or dismiss the alert, simply right-click.
    • You will also see possible grammar errors when running a spelling and grammar check through the Tools menu.
  • New language review interface
    • You can easily review all language suggestions for your document with the updated spelling and grammar check tool.
    • Access it through the “Tools” menu or right-click on a suggestion and select “Review more suggestions” — you’ll see each suggestion and actions to correct any errors.

Quick launch summary

You can now access the side panel while using Drive on the web. That means you can access Calendar, Keep, and Task while using Drive, Gmail, Calendar, or Editor products (Docs, Sheets, and Slides).

The side panel makes it easy to quickly complete tasks without losing focus — that means less switching between apps and increased productivity, whether you're grabbing information from Calendar, Keep, or Tasks.

Check your calendar, notes, or tasks

  1. On a computer, go to GmailCalendar, or a file in Google DocsSheets, or Slides.
  2. At the right, choose:
    • Calendar: Check your schedule and add or edit events.
    • Keep: Create a note or list.
    • Tasks: Add to-do items and deadlines.
  3. To close the right sidebar, at the top right, click Close .

My Maps, a Google Maps service that allows you to create and share custom maps, has been enabled for LionMail. Using My Maps, you can drop a pin on locations that you would like to flag or highlight for yourself or others.

Quick launch summary
We’re making Enterprise improvements to the Google Drive search box on desktop available to all G Suite Editions.

Now, when you click in the search box you’ll see a range of options, including:

  • Suggested search queries: Click on a term to search for it.
  • Your top collaborators: Click on a person to search for files that you’ve collaborated with them on.
  • File types, edit history, priority items, and more: Click to show files that match the highlighted criteria.

These filters will help you find and filter content more quickly and efficiently in Drive.

Intelligent search options appear when you click the Drive search box

CUIT has enabled Google Hangouts Chat for all LionMail users, bringing enhanced functionality to messaging at Columbia. Hangouts Chat will automatically replace Google Talk in the left-hand navigation pane of your LionMail interface. You can also download the app for iOS or Android, allowing you to continue messaging on the go.

The basic messaging functionality remains the same, but now you can send images, hold group chats, and create chat rooms for your team or club. Hangouts Chat also integrates closely with Google Drive, allowing you to collaborate easily on Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Visit Google’s Learning Center to see all the ways you can use Hangouts.

In addition to messaging, Hangouts Meet offers video meeting capabilities and conveniently integrates with your Google Calendar.

Please Note: If you do not see the new Hangouts interface within your LionMail inbox screen, please sign out, then sign back into LionMail. 

Additionally, during the upgrade from Google Talk to Hangouts Chat, your existing chat contacts were removed. Google has confirmed that this is a known issue. To re-add your contacts, simply search for the individual's name within the Hangouts Chat interface and begin a conversation. Once you have had at least one conversation using Hangouts Chat, the individual should remain in your contact list.

What’s changing: adding more options to the right-click context menu in Gmail.

Right-click on a message to display menu options conveniently

What’s changing: We're adding three new features to Gmail:

  • Shortcut to undo/redo in the compose window
  • Shortcut to strikethrough text
  • Ability to download messages as .EML files in rfc822 format from Gmail on the web

Why you’d use it

  • Undo/Redo: If you need to undo an action, like if you accidentally delete the content of your draft of an email, you can do so straight from the compose view. Anytime you have undo, you want to also have the option of redo, so we’ve added that as well.
  • Strikethrough: Strikethrough is a visual cue that something has been completed or can be used as an edit suggestion. We’ve heard from you that this functionality is critical to quickly and efficiently write emails, especially when you want to visually indicate a change in language.
  • Download as .EML: This format is recognized by other email clients, allowing you to view the Gmail content along with attachments within these clients. In addition, with this functionality users can now add these downloaded messages as attachments in their emails.

How to get started

  • End users - new compose formatting: Click on the formatting menu in the Gmail compose window.
  • End users - new download format: Open the overflow (three dot) menu and select “Download message.”
Undo, redo and strikethrough options are found in the formatting tool bar when composing an email
To download an email, click the three dots in the upper right corner of the message and select Download message

CUIT has enabled Google Drive File Stream, allowing you to find and open your files from Google Drive on your computer. You can:

  • Save specific files and folders offline.
  • View and organize your files in your computer’s file system without using storage space.
  • Open files on your computer.

To download File Stream, please see Google's Drive Help page.

CUIT has enabled Google Takeout, allowing you to to export your data to a downloadable archive file, such as a ZIP file. You can download your Gmail, Contacts, Photos, and much more. For a full list of data types, and to find out how much you have of each, sign in to your Google account, then visit your Google Dashboard. To download data, the easiest place to start is Google's Takeout page.