Originally published at: Nextcloud Hub 6: Healthy meeting culture and the first local AI Assistant - Nextcloud
Our latest release supports a healthy meeting culture, introduces the Nextcloud Assistant and emphasizes user-centric design, transparency and user control.
Thank you to our community! 💙
Nextcloud would not be the same without our dedicated, encouraging community. A huge thank you to the thousands of community members for making this release the best it can be and continuing to show your talents and passion for Nextcloud. 👏🥳
To the millions of home users and the tens of thousands of companies, government entities, public organizations, schools and universities that have used Nextcloud to regain control over their data, thank you for trusting us as your digital workspace and collaboration platform. We hope you enjoy all this new release has to offer.
Build a healthy meeting culture with Nextcloud
An enormous part of our work life remains online today making it important to foster a healthy environment around it. Over are the days where the primary focus is supercharging productivity. What matters now is you and your well-being. Nextcloud has honed in on what makes a healthy online culture – from meetings to file storage. This release brings you accessible, helpful and powerful tools that allow your work life to be less stressful, cluttered and overwhelming in Nextcloud Hub.
With Nextcloud Hub 6, there are countless ways to support your mental health and keep a healthy work-life balance. Read on to hear what we did in Hub 6 to help you be more productive in a sustainable way!
Start fresh every day ☀️
When you start your day with Nextcloud, you first open your dashboard. It’s filled with all the highlights you need: see who’s messaged you, the files you recently worked on and important emails, allowing you to jump right back in.
⏰ Remind me… later please!
An important aspect of a healthy work life is eliminating distractions to avoid feeling overwhelmed. To help with this, we introduced a “remind me” feature in a few places:
Set a reminder in Talk
📣 Set a reminder on a file or folder
💤 Snooze emails
(they will return to your inbox after the snooze period is over)
🔔 Set a reminder on Talk messages
Talking time collected 🗣️
Do you have a colleague that takes over the whole call, leaving no one else the chance to speak? Our new talking time feature shows how long participants speak during a call. We enabled this so people can be conscious of their own talking time, while giving others the opportunity to speak more in calls. We hope this little piece of social engineering makes a difference in your next call!
60-minute call popup ⏲️
That’s a wrap! Nextcloud Talk now provides a warning message once your meeting reaches 1 hour. In an effort to avoid endless meetings and have a cap on your calls, this feature may be particularly helpful in using your time more efficiently.
Less switching.. use the Smart Picker☝️
When you need a piece of information or data, you often have to switch to another app or website. This not only takes time, but also energy. We have a solution: the Smart Picker lets you pull in information from various sources while staying in the app you’re working.
For example, if you’re in a call and want to remember a new task you’ve just been given, you can use the Smart Picker to create a new Deck card for you – right in the chat! You avoid switching to another app – in this case Deck – and remain focused in your current context. Or, you remember a nice YouTube video you want to share – use the Smart Picker! Share a ticket, link to a file or a chat room – we got you covered.
There introduce some new Smart Pickers in Hub 6, like the super cool Sketch Picker which lets you draw on an image or blank canvas. There are a few more new Smart Pickers – read on to find out which ones!
Notifications can really pull you out of focus. To be mindful about the attention of others, you can send a chat message ‘silently’ without causing notifications to others in a room, and you can even silently start a call which doesn’t ring everyone’s phone! Also, you can:
- Set your status to Do-Not-Disturb mode. For example, you could put your status to “out for lunch” if you’re away from your desk. If you’re in a call, Nextcloud automatically updates your status so colleagues see you are busy.
- Set your working hours and enable Do-Not-Disturb mode. This means you won’t get notifications while someone is active in a Talk conversation outside your preferred working hours or time zone.
- Gifs are cool, but can be distracting. Hide gifs sent in a Talk chat message to create a clearer space.
Making life easier, saving you time – much of Nextcloud is designed to do that.
- Click on someone’s avatar anywhere in Nextcloud – even in Files or Deck – to start a chat, send a mail and more.
- Book a meeting with someone from their profile – you don’t even need to open Calendar.
- Instead of asking your whole team a question in a chat, you could speed up the process (and limit extra notifications) by just starting a quick poll!
- See when someone’s typing in a chat and a read status – to know a colleague is engaged or not as to avoid extra explanations.
- If the conversation has too many people you can use break-out rooms to split up in smaller groups.
Benefits of a Single Platform:
Create a task or calendar item from an email
Create a task or Deck card in a chat
AI in Nextcloud Hub 6
Artificial Intelligence is still quite ‘hot’. There’s hype, but also substance – there are a ton of ways in which AI features can help you get work done faster and easier. Nextcloud comes with tons of smaller and larger AI features, from a smart Mail inbox that shows you only relevant emails, to face recognition so you can find photos of a person across your entire collection.
But, AI also has issues. From its carbon footprint and issues with bias to data leaks and more existential risks, we totally get it when the term ‘AI’ doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy!
For that reason, our approach to AI is built on flexibility, choice and especially transparency. Nextcloud Hub is the only self-hosted Content Collaboration Platform to provide AI features in an ethical and secure way!
Users have the flexibility to experiment with and try out our AI features, with a wide range of options. We offer self-hosted solutions like image generation with an on-premises StableDiffusion AI besides the integration of an external service from Dall-E. We offer self-trained voice recognition and translation services you can run on your own server as well as integrations from external services like DeepL for translations or ChatGPT for text generation.
The power rests in users to choose what type of AI features they want or choose to not use any at all. If at any point you decide you don’t want to use an AI feature anymore, you always have the option to uninstall it. And, of course, none of the risky ones that could leak data are installed by default!
To provide full transparency, we have created the Ethical AI Rating which rates every AI feature based on the risk you take with your data and its ethical implications.
Want to learn more about what options we provide, how to install a feature or find its rating? We have an earlier blog covering just that!
Introducing the Nextcloud Assistant
Tons of companies are introducing text generation features courtesy of “large language models”. Typically, they just send your data to OpenAI or another big tech firm. We did offer a similar integration, but you know that’s not our way. So, we made a promise. We said we’d work on providing you these abilities, WITHOUT data leaks. And, today, just 3 months later, we deliver.
And, as always, we didn’t just replace the feature we had, but we did one better!
The on-premise Nextcloud AI Assistant is here! You can now call upon your Nextcloud Assistant at anytime, anywhere to assist you with your tasks. And, because we believe this can be so helpful, we integrated it in a very powerful way in Nextcloud.
As a start, you have the Assistant everywhere, with the icon in the top-right, as you can see in the animation above.
Next, we integrated the Assistant specifically in a few places where it would be super helpful.
Your Assistant with Text
First, we integrated the Assistant in Nextcloud Text. Select some pagragraphs and have the Assistant summarize, generate a headline, re-word or translate it! Just click on the star ✨ icon on the right for a pop-up with all the options to get the results you want.
Nextcloud Assistant in Text
Assistant in Mail
Do you have email threads that are way too long? We often find ourselves scrolling through them to find what someone said or refer back to something. With Nextcloud Assistant, you can now have your email thread summarized for you!
Of course you can also have text generated for you in Mail too, so you don’t need to come up with every subject line and content to send out.
And with all these, your AI can run locally meaning users can access the full power of large language models without having to worry about data leaks.
Assistant in Talk
Last but not least, the Nextcloud Assistant is coming to Talk! You’ll be able to ask it questions during your conversation(s), getting suggestions on content, headlines and more in a super easy way. This Talk bot should be available a few weeks from now.
100% on your server, without any leaks
The Nextcloud Assistant is the only integrated AI assistant in any collaboration platform that won’t leak data or use your activities to train a new AI. If you work at a company and are worried your competitor might find out about your new strategies and plans because the Zoom call you did was used to train an AI – this can’t happen with Nextcloud.
Keeping your data yours is in our DNA, and we’re definitely proud of this industry-first!
Files is the core of Nextcloud Hub. It’s where you access and share your files all in one place. In this release, Files received improvements in two of its core functions: accessing and sharing.
Given Nextcloud Hub is a single platform that combines Talk, Office and Groupware functions in one interface, having everything you need all in one place makes it easy to achieve a cohesive workflow. Our new File Picker Selection Dialogue is the perfect example – in a chat, document or email you can easily select a file to share, insert, attach or link! The new file selection dialog has a quick filter on top, remembers your last sorting method, shows you recent files and favorites and is overall super easy to navigate.
In a chat, select ‘share from Nextcloud’ and a pop-up will appear with all your files. Easily share a file you’ve recently worked on or one you’ve favorited. The new dialog remembers sort order and the last file location making it so much more convenient to use.
Advanced file versioning
We’re constantly making edits to our documents and the more the edits, the more versions there are. Now, it’s easy to see older versions without having to download them: just click them and they load immediately. Even better, we made it possible to compare two versions with side-by side viewing. Notice the changes made in a snap, rename the version and don’t lose track of your file’s history again.
We always get a ton of feedback on Nextcloud. We got input from the millions of users at Magentacloud about our sharing dialog, and worked on improving the flow.
Now when you want to share a file, you enter the recipient’s name or email. Then, you set settings like a password and expiration date, or the note to the recipient – before you finally hit the share.
We also simplified the flow of sharing a public link. You can now set multiple options without having to re-open the menu.
Nextcloud Talk is the best chat and video communication tool that keeps your data yours!
Nextcloud’s video conferencing and chat platform is bringing some snazzy new features to the table! Inspired by on our goal of helping you maintain a healthy meeting culture, many of these features help to reduce work stress and create a more positive virtual environment. We already mentioned the 1-hour call pop-up and the speaking time features, to help keep meetings in check. What else does Nextcloud Talk offer you in this release?
Group system message 📚
If you’re hosting or are part of a call with many participants, you’re used to seeing everyone’s name pop up one after the other stating that they joined the call. To reduce the flow of messages so you can focus on what matters, the call will now only state a few names and the rest as “others joined the call.” It’s sometimes the small things that make our time online stress-free and simplistic.
Conversation filters 🎯
Too many chats open? In your chat bar on the left, you’ll see a new filter icon. Here, you can filter unread mentions – when you’re tagged in a chat – or any unread messages that you haven’t gotten to yet. This helpful feature acts as a reminder to get back to someone that needs your assistance, without you needing to remember.
Text formatting in chats 📝
Want your chat conversation to be more structured and organized? It’s now possible to use basic formatting in chat. Using markdown, try out **bold**, *italics*, –
strike-through-, # headings, * bullet lists, “`
code“` and more!
Task bot 🤖
During a conversation, you may want to write down a note or future task for a teammate. It’s now super simple: just type the note or future task in the chat with ‘todo’ or ‘task’ in front and at the end of the call they’ll all be summarized for you in a bullet list. Talk about working efficiency!
Find open conversations 🌐
If you haven’t joined a chat, you won’t see it. That’s why we’ve now created a search bar for you to find any available, open chat room easily. You can find the search bar in the left sidebar of Talk. This behavior keeps your interface clean of unneeded distractions that may be unimportant to your current work.
Nextcloud Office brings collaboration to a whole new level, with several new features
Nextcloud Office is more than creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Our Office stack also consists off:
The impressive Microsoft SharePoint Lists or Airtables alternative
The knowledge management space for your organization
The ideal note-taking app with simple features and markdown
The editor extraordinaire integrated in Nextcloud Deck, Files, Collectives and Notes
With this release, we’ve got tons of improvements and new features for all corners of your office. Read on to learn about them!
What’s new in Nextcloud Tables?
Nextcloud Tables helps businesses and organizations manage their structured data. With Tables, you can manage your employees’ time off, customer data, health tracking and much more.
We developed Tables in response to requests from customers, especially in the Government sector, who were not happy that some prominent tech companies offering similar functionality are forcing their customers to the cloud. Many governments take digital sovereignty serious, and being completely dependent on the whims of some foreign cloud firm is of course not acceptable.
In this release, we’ve made key improvements to make it an even more powerful tool.
- Selective viewing and filtering – Finally, Tables introduces a very powerful feature: views. You can create any number of views on a table, and share them with different people or groups with different access permissions. This way, for example, the employees can enter a request for travel and only see their own requests and their status, the manager can only see and approve requests from members of their team and HR has a full overview of all vacations.
- 🙍 Employee – Requests vacation
- 🙍♀️ Manager – Reviews/Approves vacation
- 👤 HR personnel – Tracks vacation
The advanced filters make it possible for employees to only see the status of their own vacation request, while the HR manager has access to everything. That way, the information in the Table stays confidential while simultaneously having one space to manage all the separate processes.
Watch the video below to see these new features in action!
- Share a view with the Smart Picker – With the Smart Picker, you can now can insert an interactive table or a view of a table in a document.
The Smart Picker can be enabled with a slash (/) in a Talk chat, Text document, Deck card, Collective, Notes and more. Some apps like Mail and Nextcloud Office have a menu item or a button to insert content from the Smart Picker.
- Link column type – From within Tables, it is also now possible to search for and link to any type of content supported in Nextcloud search. This list goes on – chat rooms and messages, calendars and calendar items, YouTube videos, GitHub tickets, locations, and much more.
New in Collectives
Collectives is a convenient place to store and manage knowledge. It’s the knowledge base for your business where all the important information and know-how is. The new features include:
New landing pages!
For each new Collective you make, there will be a dedicated landing page for it. See pages you’ve recently worked on to jump right back to where you left off. See who’s part of the Collective, and more!
Easier to manage members
A pop-up now appears when you want to add, view or remove members in your Collective
Restore pages again!
Phew! If you accidentally delete a page you’ve been working on for hours, you can easily restore it
Create diagrams with Mermaid
Nextcloud now has powerful support for creating diagrams with a text-based syntax called Mermaid. In Nextcloud Text – which is the primary text support for Nextcloud Office, Deck, Collectives and some other apps – can now use Mermaid to produce simple, visually appealing and helpful diagrams with code!
There’s no better way to share an idea or workflow than in visual form with easily identifiable shapes, lines and text boxes.
Add-ons to the Smart Picker
Earlier this year, we introduced the Smart Picker – a tool to quickly insert content into a chat, document, task or email. New Smart Picker integrations regularly appear in our App Store and we wanted to highlight a few additions:
Draw a sketch! – Can’t put it into words? Sketch it out instead! In a Nextcloud Talk chat, activate the Smart Picker with a slash (/) to get started. Also available in Office, Deck, Notes, Collectives.
Formatting shortcuts – Do you sometimes forget the shortcuts or markdown codes for bold, italics or headings? Enable the Smart Picker and all these are just a slash (/) away!
Nextcloud Groupware consists of Mail, Calendar and Contacts
Nextcloud Groupware, consisting of Calendar, Mail, Contacts and Deck, is a completely integrated client and the cornerstone of productivity. In the Hub 6 release, we’ve focused on automation of tasks with other clients like Talk to facilitate seamless collaboration.
For instance, in Calendar, we’ve improved the one-step process to set up a remote meeting. As you can watch in the video, simply create a meeting in Calendar and click ‘create a Talk room.’ Not only does this automatically create a Talk room with the same name from the Calendar meeting! We now also set the description, and the link to the Talk room will be in the Location and clickable in your Calendar. We also add the participants to the Talk room, so when the meeting starts, they will get a notification – if they hadn’t seen it from their calendar. In just one motion, you’ve created a Calendar event, invited the team and organized and set up a meeting location.
Simple and stress-free!
In Mail, we bring you more automation so you don’t have to think about the small things. For example, spam mail will be marked automatically and moved to the spam folder, so you don’t get distracted by junk mail. Also, old mail that you’ve already thrown away in the trash will be auto-deleted. Just set up how many days you’d prefer so unwanted mail will be out of sight and out of mind. It’s also easy to forget about your running storage quota, so we now offer a quota depletion warning so you can take of it on time.
Are you ever in a meeting and need to note down a new task for later? With the new Deck Card Picker, you can create a new Deck card directly in Talk without ever leaving your conversation. Just type a slash (/) in the chat box to activate the Deck Card Picker and you’ll be able to make your card – and even select the board or list it’s in. This new feature is an excellent example of how Nextcloud as a single, integrated platform can make your work life so much more efficient.
The Deck Card Picker works in Talk, Office, Notes and more so wherever you are in Nextcloud, you can create tasks and get them done faster. See the video below how the Deck Card Picker works in Nextcloud Talk!
For Developers: build apps in your favorite language!
We are happy to announce that all core apps are now fully documented with OpenAPI by OCS (Open Collaboration Services). With OCS, apps and integrations can be developed in other languages and are super stable. A great benefit of OpenAPI is that it can help you automatically generate code to help integrate the API into applications.
To make it even easier, we introduced the OCS Viewer app. With this app you can, in a super intuitive way, browse our API, try out a request with various parameters, and see the result or grab pieces of code that can request certain data or perform various operations against a Nextcloud server. For example, upload files, view a folder listing, create or modify a share, and so on. Just copy-paste in your app, whether you write in Python, Go or OCaml.
If you develop a server app and want YOUR app API to also be nicely documented through OpenAPI, we have good news: there’s a tutorial on our developer site now!
We also write 4 other, new tutorials, with tons of more advanced app development information, tips on debugging issues and much more.
We very much look forward to the apps you’ll built!
But, there is more. Something much BIGGER!
No more “just PHP”!
For a long time, PHP has been the only language you can use to have direct access to the Nextcloud code and develop apps. While PHP certainly scales well, it isn’t for everyone. Everybody has their favorite language, and we thought it was time to bring you some good news: In Hub 6, we are excited to announce that developers can now write server apps in other languages other than PHP!
Yes, that means you can use pretty much any programming language you like! To kickstart development, we’ve built a Python library and two example apps using Python. But you can use any language you like, of course!
These new apps will be independent from the Nextcloud core, by interacting with the Nextcloud through the Open Collaboration Services API. This brings 4 benefits:
- Having a clear separation between apps and the Nextcloud core clients avoids any issues in the core of Nextcloud. For example, if there’s a bug in a new app, it won’t cause any damage to the rest of Nextcloud.
- As we maintain these API’s independently, we can commit to keeping them stable for many, many years!
- It’s also easier to distribute compute. For example, you could create a separate node in the server network that runs Nextcloud with special hardware for heavy AI operations.
- Lastly, we have control over what data apps have access to, ensuring the utmost security.
With this new ecosystem, we hope it makes developing for Nextcloud more accessible for everyone and empowers user choice. Whichever programming language you prefer, whether it be for accessibility, stability or security reasons, we hope this opens major doors for you and your future contributions to Nextcloud!
Nextcloud Hub is a powerful application platform, closely integrating with tons of third party applications and tools. Take a look at what’s new!
The bots are coming! 🤖
Bots are an excellent way to connect various services and make life easier. They can take information from a monitoring service, an issue tracker or other applications and allow users to interact in chat. In Nextcloud Talk, we now support bots using web hooks which opens the door for greater chat integrations between Nextcloud and other tools.
What bots do we have so far?
- Call Summary bot – At the end of a Talk call, this bot will compile all tasks that were written in the chat by participants and make a call summary.
- Welcome bot in Talk – The Welcome bot, written in golang, responds to “Good morning” and “Hello” by welcoming new attendees into a Talk room. This bot was written as a basis for you to create your own bot.
Mobile/Desktop Clients: New features!
Nextcloud is available on Android and iOS, to make storing and sharing files from documents to images easy to manage on the go.
Image editing – on the go
Now it’s easy to edit images – wherever you are! Introducing image editing operations for Android and iOS. Rotate, resize, add color effects and so much more to any image!
Other new features & improvements:
- Upload booster for S3. Operations have been sped up (move, upload, copy, rename) on S3 based storage by up to 10x!
- Automatic locking for Office files while they are being edited on the Desktop
- Store E2EE (End-to-End Encryption) key on hardware token
- Enhanced image preview view
- View location and other meta data of photos
- Tighter integration on apps within Nextcloud ecosystem
How to install Hub 6
Ready to foster a healthy meeting culture in Nextcloud? Start developing apps in Python? Then we invite you to install Hub 6! For those new to Nextcloud, let’s make sure you know how to install it.
In general, we offer Hub 6 for download right away. Existing users will only be offered the new version in some time, as we do staged roll-outs. It can take 6-8 weeks, but you can always manually get the latest and greatest! See below for how:
Users of the Snap can switch to the testing channels to get the latest version. If you installed Nextcloud through the zip or tarball, you can switch the release channel to Beta to receive the latest version asap.
Note: Your Nextcloud caches the results coming from our updater server, so it can take a bit for the new version to show up and you likely have to refresh the page, wait a bit and do that again. Don’t forget to switch back to stable after you updated to Hub 6!