6 new Google Drive features you need to know about

Google Docs, Sheets and Slides got new features this week that will help you work better. Check out the highlights here.

Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Expertise Tech, Health, Lifestyle
Sarah Mitroff
2 min read

Just in time for the school year, Google's added new features to Docs, Sheets and Slides, its online productivity tools. But you don't have to be a student to use these cool new features, since they're available to anyone with a Google account.

Here are our favorite additions.

Voice typing

Google's been perfecting voice recognition for a while now and it's putting those skills to work with voice typing in Google Docs. Now you can dictate instead of typing, just by speaking what you want to write, with support for 40 languages.

To use this feature, open any document from Google Docs in the Chrome browser. Then go to Tools and select Voice typing. Then click the microphone, start speaking and Google will transcribe what you say, including punctuation marks. Speak freely, but know that Google will censor profanity.

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Voice typing in Google Docs. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Research from Google Docs

In the Google Drive Android app, there's a new Research tool for Docs that lets you search Google without leaving your document. You can use this to find and read information, copy and paste text from online into your document, insert images you find on Google and insert links.

Research has been available on Google Drive's website, but this is the first time it's coming to the Android app.


Google productivity tools are all getting fresh, well-designed templates that help you quickly create a resume, budgets, slideshows and much more. Go to the individual sites for Docs, Sheets and Slides and you'll see several featured templates at the top of the page. Click the More button to see extra options, organized by type, such as work or school.

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Templates in Google Slides. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

New changes button

In shared documents, you can now easily see what changes have been made by collaborators and contributors. A "See new changes" button will pop up in the toolbar that you can click on to get a run-down of the additions and adjustments made since the last time you opened the document.

Explore in Sheets

A new feature added to Google's spreadsheet tool, Sheets, automatically creates several different charts for you. This helps you get quick insights into your data, without any work on your part.

Plus, those charts update automatically as you change the variable. You can also highlight specific fields to make quick charts out of that particular data.

New Forms

Google Forms are a handy way to collect information on nearly anything from a group of people, giving you completely flexibility with the questions you ask. With the new Forms, you get more choices to customize colors, upload background images and add images and GIFs to your survey.