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Google aims to bridge connections within the hybrid workplace
Google has unveiled a host of updates to its Workspace platform during Google Cloud Next ’22.
The new features have been designed to bridge connections between those who are operating in the hybrid workplace and make collaborating easier.
Aparna Pappu, GM and Vice President, Google Workspace, said: “For most organizations, the physical office is no longer the centre of gravity for work.
“As they look to establish a hybrid workplace that’s energized with ideas and a drive for succeeding together, many are finding that their legacy tools just aren’t meeting their needs.
“Google Workspace is the most popular productivity tool on the planet — relied on by more than 3 billion users.
“To help organizations thrive in a hybrid world, we’ve invested heavily in immersive connections, our approach to bringing people closer together through our communication products, and smart canvas, our next-generation collaboration experience, while enhancing our cloud-first security model to help people work safer.”
Google has announced several new features to Google Meet with the aim of bridging the gap between people who are working from different locations.
The company has stated that the new experiences deliver “immersive connections” to make video calls feel like users are engaging in person.
Speaker spotlight in Slides: When presenting using Google Slides, the speaker’s video feed will be placed directly within the content. Google says that this will collapse the boundary between the story and the storyteller in the hybrid workplace.
AI-powered cameras: Huddly and Logitech are bringing AI-powered cameras which are compatible with Google Meet. Huddly will release active speaker-tracking cameras on Google Meet Series One devices and introduce a three-camera system to show the full room, the active speaker and audience reactions. Logitech has recently announced Sight, a dual-camera tabletop unit that works with Meet on Rally Bar and Rally Bar Mini to detect active speakers around the table.
Meeting room check-in: Google is making it possible for participants to know who is in the meeting room by displaying their names alongside the room in Meet.
Companion mode mobile: Users can use their phones as a second screen to give in-room attendees the ability to fully participate in meetings by raising their hands, chatting, or asking questions while leveraging the in-room audio and video.
Automatic transcriptions: Meetings can be transcribed and placed into a Google Doc for later reference. Transcriptions in English will be available this week with French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese coming in 2023.
Google also announced that it is launching SIP Link in Google Voice to allow companies to assign and manage phone numbers provided by their telecommunication provider alongside Google-provisioned numbers.
Google says it is “collapsing the boundaries between people and apps” to help teams co-create and innovate.
The company has expanded its “smart canvas” experience to keep teams connected and focused rather than having to switch between apps.
Custom building blocks: Google Docs users will be able to build their own reusable components that can be easily accessed with the “@ menu”.
Variables in Docs: In early 2023, users will be able to define common data elements in a Google Doc, such as a client name or contract number. They will be able to update it throughout the document by changing the value in one place.
Smart chips for Sheets: A new timeline view plus smart chops will allow people to easily pull in other users, files, and calendar details in Google Sheets.
Data extraction: Smart chips that are created across Google Workspace will also users to quickly populate spreadsheets with information from the chips.
Due to Workspace only being cloud-only, Google customers already benefit from Google’s cloud expertise in threat protection, AI, and global scale.
However, the company has confirmed that it is extending its advanced data protection controls to keep user data safe across more apps that they use every day.
DLP for Chat: Google is adding data loss prevention (DLP) to enable admins to create custom policies to prevent sensitive information leaks. The company says security checks will happen in “real time” and apply a “corrective action” without any delay. DLP is already available in Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Trust rules in Drive: This feature is currently in a beta stage however it will allow for more granular control of internal and external sharing. It will provide admins more flexibility in establishing collaboration boundaries.
CSE in Gmail and Calendar: Client-side encryption will be made available for Gmail and Google Calendar later this year. It allows Enterprise Plus and Education Plus/Standard customers to have control over access to their data. This means organisations can address a broad range of data sovereignty and compliance requirements.
Extending Workspace functionality
Google says that when users connect Workspace to other tools in their organisation, they want the platform to allow teams to remain focused in the digital spaces they are already collaborating in.
As a result, the company has revealed a host of new features to make this possible.
APIs for Meet and Chat: Developers will gain programmatic access to common functions like creating and starting meetings or sending messages from a third-party app. Google has confirmed that Asana and LumApps will be the company’s first partners to leverage these capabilities in their apps.
Meet add-on SDK: This feature enables developers to embed their app directly into the Google Meet experience. Figma has been announced as one of the first add-on partners and will allow teams to collaborate on Figma design and FigJam digital whiteboards, all from the Google Meet platform.
AppSheet and Chat integration: Users can create and interact with custom AppSheet apps from Google Chat. Google’s low-code and no-code platforms let anyone without coding experience build mobile and web applications.
For more news on Google Workspace, including future updates, then click here.
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