Google has updated its productivity platform Google Workspace to meet the challenges of an ever-developing work environment. The new tools and features will allow users to make the most of their time while collaborating easily and producing maximum impact wherever they are.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations have realised the need for a hybrid work model — a mix of both at-home and in-office environments. Google Workspace’s latest update brings in work flexibility. The new tools enable better management of time and attention, and strengthening participation, enabling everyone to contribute equally, regardless of their location.
Google Assistant in Workspace
One of the biggest changes brought in the latest update is the integration of Google Assistant with Workspace. Users can now use the voice assistant to ask Google what is the next agenda on their calendar. It will also allow users to quickly join a virtual meeting or send a message to colleagues. While these features are available on mobile, they are in the beta stage for smart devices and smart speakers, including Google’s very own Nest.
Google had promised its voice assistant’s integration for a very long time now. However, to use this feature, users will have to connect with their company’s admin to turn on the ‘Search and Assistant’ feature.
More power to Focus
Allowing users to minimise distractions, Focus Time enables users to limit notifications during specified times. They can now specify multiple work blocks during a day to signal to teammates when they’re online and available for meetings. Location indicators will also help users identify which days their teammates will be working from home and when they will be at the office.
Google has introduced a new Time insight feature for its Workplace users, which will enable employees to assess how they’re spending their time against their priorities. While this is not as extensive as Microsoft’s Productivity Score, none of this data is shared with managers and remains visible only to individual employees.
New collaboration capabilities in Google Workspace
Google has been all about collaborating to create something better. The seeds of this were first sown when the company introduced real-time document editing nearly 15 years ago. Users can now host their meetings across a mix of devices like Google Meet hardware in conference rooms, or Nest Hub Max at home, thanks to second screen capabilities. This will allow folks using the second screen to participate in chats, polls, and Q&As.
Google Meet on mobile devices will now be available with support for split-screen and picture-in-picture mode. This will allow users to chat or browse Gmail without missing the visual thread of a meeting. Mobile users will also gain support for background replace.