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Released Today: What’s New in Nextcloud Hub 7

Although officially released today, enterprises will need to wait for about four weeks longer before deploying the enterprise edition, as the software still needs to go through the certification process.

Just three months after its last release, the Germany-based private cloud software company, Nextcloud, today announced the release of Nextcloud Hub 7. There isn’t much in the way of surprises here, as this release continues to move in the direction it was headed with Hub 6. “More of the same,” comes to mind as a way to describe the new release, which will likely be just what the doctor ordered for most users.

According to the folks at Nextcloud, this new release is “setting a new standard for integrated productivity platforms and user experience,” which, hyperbole aside, looks to be part of the game plan. In a nutshell, Hub 7 brings advanced cross-app search capabilities, platform-wide out-of-office functionality, and extends the Session Initiation Protocol (for initiating, maintaining, and terminating communication sessions) to allow for dialing out to members in a video conference.

“Organizations worldwide are increasingly recognizing the importance of secure and collaborative platforms to manage their data and communications effectively,” Nextcloud’s director of engineering, Andy Scherzinger, said in a statement. “Nextcloud Hub 7, as an open-source solution, provides organizations with a powerful tool that prioritizes privacy and data sovereignty.”

It also appears that Nextcloud is now the last open-source DIY cloud platform still standing, since it appears that ownCloud is in the process of being rolled into the Kiteworks ecosphere.

What’s new in Nextcloud Hub 7?

The changes to this Nextcloud release include changes made under-the-hood, as well as new features and expanded capabilities for many existing features. The under-the-hood changes include a major change to Nextcloud Files, which has been rewritten in Vue.js. This is important because the rewrite brings accessibility and interface improvements.

Other improvements that will be more obvious to users include:

  • Unified Search now provides a dedicated dialog with filter options to find emails, documents, chat messages, calendar appointments, contacts, and external data like GitHub tickets or even GIFs.
  • A cross-application out-of-office setting is reflected in chat, email, calendar and user status across Nextcloud.
  • Photos can show iOS Live Photos, photo location, and camera settings.
  • App distribution and deployment is improved for Docker-based apps, with support for apps written in other languages — Go, Python or Rust, etc — along with an new app store overhaul.
  • Nextcloud AI Assistant introduces support for the German large language model Aleph Alpha, and usage of AI integrations can now be limited by administrators.
  • Nextcloud Talk introduces telephone dial-out to the existing dial-in capabilities, tracks video recording consent, and offers a “note-to-self” chat.

Nextcloud Hub 7 also continues to increase the AI capabilities in Nextcloud Assistant. For example, included is a not-necessarily-ready-for-prime-time “tech preview” of Context Chat, which enables generative AI to answer questions about users’ own documents, chats, and emails. Nextcloud says that this capability has been developed as part of the collaboration between the cloud software company and the German state of Schleswig-Holstein that was announced in September.

For those who want to take the new release for a test drive, or to even start using it in a small deployment that don’t require certification, the software is ready now. Enterprises with large deployments might want to wait a bit, however. Nextcloud’s built-in updater will offer the new version over the coming weeks through a staged roll-out, and enterprise customers can expect Nextcloud Enterprise to become available in about four weeks, after certification and testing.

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