Employee location has become more complicated as some return to the office while others work remotely. To embrace those hybrid working conditions, Google is making more changes to its Google Workspace offering by going live with spaces — its tool for small group sharing — in Google Chat for all users.
Spaces integrate with Workspace tools, like the Calendar, Drive, and documents, to provide a more hybrid work experience where users can see the entire history, content, and context of conversations regardless of their location.
In a blog post, Google’s senior director of product management Sanaz Ahari, wrote that customers wanted spaces to be more like a “central hub for collaboration, both in real-time and asynchronously. Instead of starting an email chain or scheduling a video meeting, teams can come together directly in space to move projects and topics along.”
Here are some new features users can see in spaces:
- One interface for everything — inbox, chats, rooms, and meetings.
- Areas, and content therein, can be made discoverable for people to find and join in the conversation.
- Better searchability within a team’s knowledge base.
- Ability to reply to any message within a space.
- Enhanced security and admin tools to monitor communication.
Employees can now indicate if they will be virtual or in-person on certain days in the Calendar for collaboration expectations. As a complement, users can call colleagues on both mobile and desktop devices in Google Meet.
In November, all customers will be able to use Google Meet’s Companion Mode to join a meeting from a personal device while tapping into in-room audio and video. Also, later this year, live-translated captions will be available in English to French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish, with more languages being added in the future.
In addition, Google is expanding its Google Meet hardware portfolio to include two new all-in-one video conferencing devices, third-party devices — Logitech’s video bar and Appcessori’s mobile device speaker dock — and interoperability with Webex by Cisco.
Google is trying everything together with a handbook for navigating hybrid work, including best practice blueprints for five ordinary hybrid meetings.