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Google starts sharing Apps for Work recommendations, making Inbox 'smarter'

Google is also tightening up links within its own portfolio, highlighting apps also supported on Android and Google Play for Work.

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Google has been busy retooling the corporate version of its Apps productivity suite, but the Internet giant is putting outside software providers in the spotlight this week.

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Amid updates to the Google Apps Marketplace, Google has started posting recommendations for third-party apps that integrate with the likes of Google Calendar, Drive and Gmail.

Rahul Sood, managing director for Google Apps for Work, assured in a blog post on Tuesday that all of the third-party apps recommended by the search engine have been vetted for performance and security.

"It can be difficult to assess which apps are secure, reliable, high-performing and well-integrated with the tools customers use most," Sood wrote. "And many businesses have neither the time nor the capability to do this assessment across all of the apps they might consider."

Among the handpicked suggestions are single sign-on providers Okta and Ping Identity, CRM platform ProsperWorks and cloud-based phone systems company Ringcentral.

Outside of the initial pool of endorsements, the digital marketplace hosts hundreds of apps that tie into (and possibly fill some productivity gaps) Google Apps.

More than two million businesses are now subscribing to Google Apps for Work, Sood boasted. Although he didn't specify an exact figure, Sood also touted business users have installed these apps "hundreds of millions of times" over.

Google is also tightening up links within its own portfolio, highlighting apps also supported on Android and Google Play for Work.

The Silicon Valley giant is extending a helping hand through another one of its mobile products as well.

Inbox, Google's stab at revamping email as we know it, is being updated with a new function dubbed "Smart Reply."

Basically, Smart Reply can suggest up to three responses based on the emails received, offering alternatives for shorter and longer emails as the case may be.

Google software engineer Bálint Miklós suggested in a separate blog post that Smart Reply could come in handy anywhere from keeping tabs on reminders to organizing trips as the holiday season approaches.

"There's actually a lot going on behind the scenes to make Smart Reply work," Miklós said, explaining how machine learning, natural language recognition, user suggestions and spam identification all play into making Smart Reply smarter in the long run.

But much like Inbox itself, Smart Reply is a work in progress. Miklós shared an anecdote about testing Smart Reply, admitting a reply suggestion that popped up more often than it probably should in the workplace was "I love you."

Smart Reply is scheduled to hit Inbox later this week.

Screenshot via Google