In the era of COVID-19, workplace transformation has taken on a whole new dimension and given organizations a sense of urgency when it comes to finding the right tools for productivity and collaboration. Virtual meetings, flexible hours, and remote work are all part of our new normal, and they’re here to stay. To help meet the needs of the newly remote workforce, Google Cloud has launched a number of new features and has many upcoming enhancements on the horizon. Here are eight of the most exciting announcements and updates surrounding G Suite and Google Meet:
A More Integrated Workspace
Last week, Google Cloud announced a new integrated workspace in Gmail that intelligently brings together the people, content, and tasks that you need to maximize your time and boost your impact at work. To help people spend more time on meaningful work and less time searching for information, jumping from app to app, and completing administrative tasks, Google Cloud is bringing email, chat, voice, and video together. Having all of these channels combined into a unified experience, within Gmail, will enable you to:
1. Communicate With the People You Need to Work With Via Whichever Channel Makes Sense
Google Cloud is making the collaboration features in Chat rooms even better by adding shared files and tasks. By enabling quick access to shared chat, important documents, and to-dos all in one place, teams will have an easier time staying on track. Users will have the ability to open and co-edit documents with their team in rooms so they don’t have to leave Gmail, making it a breeze to collaborate in real time.
2. Gain Seamless Access to Third-Party Apps
The new integrated workspace will enable you to work seamlessly with third-party applications that you can integrate into the flow of communication. Whether you’re using Gmail, Chat, or Rooms, this update will ensure you have easy access to frequently used third-party apps like DocuSign, Salesforce, and Trello.
3. Move Between Channels Seamlessly and With Ease
Enterprises use an average of 129 apps, and it takes an average of two minutes to switch from one app to another. This time adds up and disrupts your workflow. The new integrated experience will help teams work more fluidly by enabling users to quickly join a video call from a chat, seamlessly forward a chat message to their inbox, painlessly create a task from a chat message, and more.
4. Quickly Find the Information You Need to Do Your Job
It’s estimated that 20-30% of the work week is spent searching for information. To help boost productivity, Google Cloud has expanded Gmail’s search capabilities to include Chat. The ability to find all of your communications across channels from within Gmail is certainly a welcome time saver for busy teams.
Google Meet Updates
Recognizing the increase in remote work and fewer people joining together from conference rooms, Google Cloud is introducing a variety of updates and enhancements to Google Meet that make working from home easier. Some of these updates include:
1. Customizable & Blurred Backgrounds
Many people working from home know the struggle of finding a dedicated, distraction-free space to connect via virtual meetings. Whether it’s a pile of laundry you haven’t had a chance to get to, a stack of dirty dishes, or rambunctious pets in the background, navigating meetings at home while still giving off a professional aura can prove to be challenging. To help remote workers avoid these potentially embarrassing situations, in the coming months, Google Cloud will be making it easier to blur out your background, or replace it with an image of your choosing.
2. Increased Meeting Size & Layout Improvements
Google Meet makes it easy to run larger, more effective meetings, and Google Cloud continues to add improvements with the goal of making video conferencing feel as close to in-person meetings as possible. Whether you need 250 colleagues to join a Meet or you want to livestream to 100,000 in-domain viewers, Meet has got you covered. In addition, Google Meet’s new array of layouts ensure users can better see who, and what, they need to see in meetings. The addition of the tiled layout in April gave users the ability to see 16 other participants in a meeting along with content that’s being shared at the same time. More improvements are coming that will enable participants to see up to 49 other participants at once.
3. Jamboard Integration
Sometimes, you hold a video conference to do a budget review in which you’ll all need to look at the same numbers. Sometimes, someone is making a pitch, and you’ll all need to share the same presentation. But, sometimes, there’s creative work and brainstorming that needs to be done—that’s where Jamboard comes in. Jamboard offers a collaborative whiteboard experience that helps teams visualize their ideas from laptops, mobile devices, or from physical Jamboards. Later this year, Google Cloud will be bringing the Jamboard experience directly into Meet. Staying on one platform, your team can sketch ideas on a virtual whiteboard, then drop in images, add notes and pull assets from anywhere on the web.
4. Other Planned Meet Enhancements
- Hand Raising: This feature will increase participation in larger meetings and prevent participants from talking over each other by enabling them to “raise their hands” when they have a question or something to say.
- Meeting Attendance: This feature will give meeting hosts an easy way to see who attended their meeting.
- Breakout Rooms: The addition of this feature will make it easy for large meetings to split into smaller groups, have parallel discussions, and reconvene once finished.
- Q&A: This feature will enable the audience to ask questions without being disruptive to the current speaker.
- Polling: This real-time polling feature will help to better engage participants in large meetings.
- Additional Moderator Controls: New moderator feature are coming that will provide meeting hosts with additional controls for muting, presenting, joining, and more.
To hear more about Google Cloud’s productivity and collaboration updates and announcements, be sure to tune into our Next OnAir post-session recaps on Thursdays. Here’s what’s coming up on July 23rd:
SADA Says With Tony Safoian and Nicky Parseghian- Post-Keynote Commentary
Join SADA CEO, Tony Safoian and Nicky Parseghian, Practice Director, G Suite, as they recap the week 2 Keynote Helpful and Human: G Suite’s Vision for Your Future Workspace of Google Next OnAir.
SADA Says With Veronica Raulin & Kelly Wright – Post-Session Commentary
Listen in to Veronica Raulin, Head of Change Management & Kelly Wright, Head of Engineering, G Suite, for their take on Google’s Introducing G Suite Essentials: The Simplest Way for Teams to Securely Work Together from Week 2 of Google Next OnAir
SADA Says with Tony Safoian and Victoria Mejia-Dai – Post-Session Commentary
Join SADA CEO, Tony Safoian and Victoria Mejia-Dai, Executive Assistant review Google’s No User Left Behind: Empowering Collaboration and Security from Week 2 of Google Next OnAir.