Google will now show bosses if employees are actually using its apps

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Google is launching a new tool for its business customers that allows managers to see whether employees are actually using its G Suite productivity apps like Gmail, Docs for document creation and sharing, Sheets for spreadsheets, or Slides for presentations.

G Suite is a distant rival to Microsoft’s Office 365 offering. As it tries to wrest marketshare and win new customers, the so-called “Work Insights” feature will help tech administrators at companies understand if employees are actually using the apps they’re paying for and which products might require more training.

The tool will track adoption at a team level (aggregated at 10 people or more), so an admin can see which business groups are using which tools:

Admins will also be able to see which teams are collaborating, whether through overlapping usage of documents, or meetings held through Google’s Hangouts chat and video tool.

“This insight can help executives identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration and reduce silos,” Google says in a blog post introducing the tool.

Google’s new product, which is initially only available in beta, mirrors Microsoft’s own Workplace Analytics tools, though with fewer in-depth features.

In February, Google said that G Suite had 4 million paying customers. Microsoft, meanwhile, reported 135 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365 in its most recent quarterly earnings.

Google announced the new insights product at a Cloud event in Tokyo, alongside tools to make it easier for IT admins to discover security threats.

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