Google is rolling out new features in G Suite for desktop and Android users that aim to bring G Suite apps closer together.
The updates aim to feature four distinct apps: Mail, Chat, Rooms and Meet. The new features in the updates appear to be Google’s response to the rise of Microsoft Teams, Slack and other unified communications platforms that have been popular in the age of remote and hybrid work.
“With this launch, you’ll also be able to open and co-edit a document with your team without leaving Gmail,” the company said in a blog post this week. “This will make it easier for you to collaborate directly within the context of where you’re doing your work at that moment.”
Google also added several new tools to G Suite, including:
- The ability to assign group tasks
- Notifications about task updates in rooms
- The ability to pin important rooms
- Availability setting “do not disturb”
- Status notices in Chat
- File sharing in rooms
- Integrated search results toggled between Email and Chat results on the web
- Starting a new meeting or seeing upcoming meetings under “Meet” on the web
The company first announced these features in a blog post last month before beginning to roll them out this month. Vice President and General Manager of G Suite Javier Soltero wrote that virtual meetings, remote collaboration and flexible hours are the new ways of working.
“In my conversations with customers and business leaders since the onset of COVID-19, I’ve seen workplace transformation go from an almost theoretical long-term goal to an urgent priority,” Soltero wrote. “Employers and workers want more flexible ways of working, and delivering on this requires the right technology.”
“But flexibility isn’t the only thing that workers want. Remote working has significantly increased the demands we’re getting from many directions—in both our professional and our personal lives. People tell us they feel overloaded with too much information and too many tasks across too many different tools. Instead of learning another tool, we need the tools we already use to be even more helpful, and work together, in an integrated, intuitive way.”
In that post, Soltero also wrote about enhanced security for Meet and Chat that includes the ability to eject meeting participants and more control over which users can chat or present in the meeting.