Google enhances Workspace to help employees collaborate regardless of location

Google LLC today announced a series of updates for its Workspace cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools focused on helping employees collaborate equally regardless of location, device preference, role or language.

The updates cover a broad spectrum of features and tools. Leading the list is that “spaces” in Google Chat are now live for everyone. The service, previously known as Hangouts Chat, was rebranded in April 2020 and spaces within Chat were previously limited in availability.

Google has announced new features in spaces to help teams stay organized, connected and collaborative. Features included streamlined navigation with a flexible user interface that assists users to easily access their inbox, chats, spaces and meeting from a single location. Discoverable spaces are described as bringing the ability for content to be discoverable to all members of an organization, so other people can find and join the conversation.

Spaces is getting a new enhanced search feature that allows users to find content from within and across spaces easily, or even discover new spaces to join. “Search everything” in spaces is said to open up powerful new collaboration possibilities and make it easier to access the team’s collective knowledge base.

Another new feature, in-line topic threading, is described as adding the ability to reply to any message within a space to fuel deeper discussions and collaboration across teams and organizations.

On the administration side, new tools are being provided for content moderation, managing spaces and establishing the right rules for healthy communication across domains and companies.

Google also announced new features to ensure meetings stay engaging and collaborative, including working location in Google Calendar. The feature allows team members to set their working location in Calendar regularly or by segmentable working hours.

Google Meet calling is a new functionality that allows users to directly call other users in Google Meet on both mobile and desktop devices. The service complements the ability to create scheduled video meetings and supports the ebbs and flows of hybrid work by allowing for more spontaneous, ad-hoc video calls.

Rolling out to all customers beginning in November, Google Meet Companion Mode will allow users to seamlessly join meetings from their personal devices while leveraging in-room audio and video.

Facilitating cross-language communication, live-translated captions are coming to Google Meet later this year with English to French, German, Spanish and Portuguese support. Other languages will be added in the future.

In an already busy day of announcements, Google also said they were expanding their Google Meet hardware portfolio. The release included two new meeting devices and new third-party integrations.

The Google Series One Board 65 and Series One Desk 27 are new all-in-one videoconferencing devices designed to complement the Series One rooms kits. The Series One Desk 27 is configured for desktops and small shared spaces in the office or at home, whereas the Series One Board 65 is designed for team rooms and shared spaces and has an optional stand for configuration flexibility.

New third-party devices include the Logitech International S.A. Rally Bar Mini and Rally Bar, certified by Google to work with Google Meet, providing an all-in-one video bar for small and mid-sized rooms. Appcessori Corp. is launching a new mobile device speaker dock, Rayz Rally Pro, that will automatically launch Google Meet for video meetings and provide an enhanced audio experience from mobile devices.

Finally, Google also announced interoperability for Webex by Cisco Systems Inc. Workspace customers can use Pexip for Google Meet to seamlessly join meetings from with devices from Webex and Google Meet hardware. That enables customers to launch a Google Meet meeting on Webex hardware and a Webex meeting on Google Meet hardware.

Image: Google

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