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March 21, 2023
Major release adds key features including desktop app for Talk, shared folders in Mail, new Notes app. The new Tables app takes on SharePoint
Stuttgart, March 21 2023 – At a live event in Berlin, Nextcloud announces immediate availability of Nextcloud Hub 4.
This major release integrates a series of intelligent features in the platform, build on locally running, open source and ethically responsible technologies. Nextcloud hub 4 is the first collaboration solution to integrate ethical AI features that are fully open source, run on premises and with the training data freely available to avoid typical problems with AI like discrimination, high CO2 footprint, data leakage and more. Optionally users can choose to enable external AI technologies like ChatGPT, stable diffusion, Dall-e and others.
“Developing at an impressive pace, artificial Intelligence is the next step for digital collaboration, promising to massively increase productivity. At the same time, it poses countless technical, social, ethical and legal challenges for users, enterprises and society at large. By providing an open and on-premises alternative, Nextcloud Hub 4 leads the industry by showing how AI can be integrated in an ethical way.”
Frank Karlitschek, CEO and founder of Nextcloud GmbH
Developments in artificial intelligence increase pressure on collaboration platforms to evolve and offer a higher level of productivity. Nextcloud Hub 4 is the first collaboration platform to integrate intelligent features comprehensively across its applications while addressing the privacy and control challenges that come with AI technologies. To provide transparency to users, smart features are classified based on availability of code, model and training data.
Nextcloud Hub offers advanced, AI based features, from smart file or sharee recommendations to neural network based suspicious login detection and more. This release enhances existing intelligent features including the smart inbox in Mail and location handling with Photos, while introducing file classification, on-premises translation, speech to text as well as support for Dall-e and stable diffusion based image generation, ChatGPT based text generation, Deepl translation and more.
Many of the intelligent features are introduced through the new Smart Picker, a cross-application feature enabling users to easily insert links and content. Some examples include:
With this release, Nextcloud complements its offering to a full on-premises, open source SharePoint alternative with the introduction of the Tables app. This application enables users to create customized lists and tables to track a variety of structured data. Learn more in our separate announcement.
This release introduces Nextcloud Notes, a former community app that allows users to manage, track, share and sync notes in web as well as mobile interfaces. The Notes app was enhanced with real-time collaborative Note editing and comes with free mobile apps for Android and iOS.
Nextcloud Hub 4 is the first on-premises collaboration platform that offers integrated end-to-end encryption, designed to offer zero-trust protection for user data. The feature allow users to choose to protect any number of folders with from server breaches or maliscious administrators. Hub 4 introduces a web-accessible, secure file-drop feature and secure sharing between users, ideal for organizations where a subset of data has extremely strict compliance and security requirements. Typical examples would be the financial or HR departments that manage information even the own administrators of the organization should be unable to access.
“The initiative by Nextcloud to offer a digitally sovereign, open-source alternative to Microsoft Sharepoint is commendable. That is why we are working with Nextcloud to optimize Nextcloud Tables.”
Ralf Sutorius, Leitender IT-Architekt, Stadt Köln
Nextcloud Files introduces advanced versioning, giving users more control over the smart versioning mechanism in Nextcloud. When files are modified, Nextcloud will keep versions using a time based algorithm. This keeps less precise versions over time, for example keeping 1 version per minute, 1 per hour, 1 per day and so on. The system also acts on available file storage, cleaning more old versions up when storage gets low. Users can name specific versions, ensuring they get persisted regardless of time or space constraints.
With Microsoft shutting down the free Teams classic next month, this is a great time for organizations to move over to a secure, on-premises audio/video chat platform. Nextcloud Talk introduces a much requested feature with a beta release of a desktop application. The new version also ships with the ability to do call recording and set up breakout rooms. A dedicated iPad interface and a number of administrator features to control permissions and transfer conversation ownership complement this release.
To improve suitability for large enterprise and government organizations, the Mail app in Hub 4 introduces S/MIME support (signing and encrypting/decrypting) and shared mailboxes. Smaller improvements include support for attachments to appointments in Calendar and the use of place holders in vacation auto responders. XOAUTH2 support improves interoperability wit Outlook and GMail.
In Nextcloud Office, the knowledge base application Collectives improves the creation of new collectives and moving pages between them. It also links collectives to Files, allowing users to find the files that make up a collective and the collective associated to files more easily. Nextcloud Text introduces real-time cursor tracking, allowing users to see where others they edit documents with are typing. The light-weight project management app Deck now uses Text for editing the text on cards, making it easier for users to add rich content and bringing support for the Smart Picker. It also allows live editing of boards by multiple people, exporting boards to CSV files and creating new tags when assigning them.
Building on previous releases, Hub 4 also introduces advances in theming and accessibility. The new release comes with 4 new distraction-free wall papers, automatically adjusts the UI color scheme based on a user-selected wall paper and introduces more advanced theming options for administrators. Screen reader accessibility was improved. Rich Workspaces, which allows users to add a description to folders, by default now only shows on folders with a description.
The Nextcloud Files desktop client introduces a preview version with virtual files on MacOS, with a final release coming soon. The desktop client also introduces a default browser selection and account creation from the command line, useful for automation in large organizations. The Android Files app introduces document scanning with multi-page support to PDF and PNG, while the iOS Files app delivers improvements to its document scanning, image editing before uploading, and office document editing improvements.
To improve performance of Hub 4, the loading of folder mounts and container handling has been improved by up to 20% in this release. OCS API requests are up to 3x faster and Nextcloud Talk in particular reduced loading times, server load and notification delays with up to 99%.
The Hub 4 announcement also coincides with the introduction of a new developer program by Nextcloud. To super-charge application development, adding to the already over 300 apps for Nextcloud, the Open Collaboration Service API introduces cross-language support. Thanks to fully documented bindings for Python, JS, Rust and other languages, applications for Nextcloud can now be developed easier than ever before.
Nextcloud Hub 4 is available immediately. This release supports the latest PHP 8.2, making it ready for deployment on newer Linux distributions and taking advantage of the improvements in this release.
Nextcloud Hub is the industry-leading, fully open source, on-premises team productivity platform, combining the easy user interface of consumer-grade cloud solutions with the security and compliance measures enterprises need. Nextcloud Hub brings together universal access to data through mobile, desktop and web interfaces with next-generation, on-premise secure communication and collaboration features like real-time document editing, chat and video calls, putting them under direct control of IT and integrated with existing infrastructure.
Nextcloud’s easy and quick deployment, open, modular architecture and emphasis on security and advanced federation capabilities enable modern enterprises to leverage their existing file storage assets within and across the borders of their organization. For more information, visit nextcloud.com or follow @nextclouders on Twitter.
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