Google Acquires Synergyse, A Virtual Coach For Apps Users

Google just bought a virtual coach to whip Apps users into better shape.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant said Monday it has acquired Synergyse, a Canadian startup that offers a training platform for Google's popular cloud-based office productivity suite. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Google will eventually offer all its Apps customers Synergyse's virtual coach at no charge natively in Apps, the popular suite of Software-as-a-Service tools including Gmail, Docs, Drive and Maps.

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Synergyse was founded in 2013 near Toronto. The startup sells a Chrome extension that implements the tutoring functionality, helping customers maximize their productivity and stay up to date with new releases and product enhancements.

According to a blog posted by Peter Scocimara, senior director of operations for Google Apps, customers using Synergyse, on average, see 35 percent higher adoption across the cloud suite's products.

That means "those organizations are more likely to be productive, collaborative and embrace digital transformation," Scocimara said.

The Synergyse capabilities will become a native feature in Apps later in the year. While integration work is under way, customers can download Synergyse's Chrome extension for free, he said.

Nicky Parseghian, director of engineering at Los Angeles-based Google partner SADA Systems, told CRN that deep integration of the training solution with Gmail, Calendar, Drive and Hangouts will drive Apps adoption "to the next level."

SADA has been working with Synergyse since 2013, using the platform to offer its customers an option for self-paced training, Parseghian said.

By integrating the training solution into the core Apps suite, Google demonstrates that it's focused on eliminating a typical burden for IT solution providers -- supporting customers while enabling their users to discover and leverage tools they may have overlooked because they were unfamiliar with them.

The Synergyse acquisition will ultimately make it easier to onboard new resources by allowing customers to learn on their own and at their own pace, he said.

"Google has always been outstanding at documenting every single aspect of its products," Parseghian told CRN, but a more personal and interactive training experience should be well-received by enterprise customers.

"By providing the right help at the right time, Synergyse will help our customers with the critical task of change management in the enterprise, and bolster the training and support programs we already offer today," Scocimara said in Google's blog.