Google Workspace Announces Innovations To Bridge Hybrid Work Gaps

Today, Google Workspace announced a series of updates that further the company’s vision for hybrid work with a single connected experience in Google Workspace and help employees collaborate equally regardless of location, device preference, role or language.

Additionally, Google released a handbook for navigating hybrid work, which includes best practice blueprints for five common hybrid meetings, to help customers that are navigating hybrid. 

What’s new in Google Workspace? 

Google Chat 

Google announced that spaces in Chat is now live for everyone. Additionally, Google announced new features in spaces to help teams stay organized, connected and collaborative, including: 

  • Streamlined navigation: A flexible user interface helps users easily access their inbox, chats, spaces and meetings—all from a single location—so they can stay on top of everything that’s important.
  • Discoverable spaces: Spaces and their content can be made discoverable to all members of an organization, so other people can find and join the conversation. Administrators can also set discoverability as the default for their organization.
  • Enhanced search: Allows users to easily find content from within and across spaces, or even discover new spaces to join. “Search everything” in spaces opens up powerful new collaboration possibilities and makes it easier to access the team’s collective knowledge base.
  • In-line topic threading: The ability to reply to any message within a space fuels deeper discussions and collaboration across teams and organizations.
  • Robust security and admin features: Tools for content moderation, managing spaces, and establishing the right rules for healthy communication across domains and companies.

Google Meet

Google announced new features to ensure everybody is able to engage in meetings when and where it works for them:

  • Working location in Google Calendar: In addition to indicating virtual or physical presence in meeting invites, team members can now set their working location in Calendar, on a regular basis or by segmentable working hours. By showing others which days of the week you plan to be in the office, working from home, or working from another location, it’s easier to plan in-person collaboration or set expectations in a hybrid workplace.
  • Google Meet calling: Designed to be a seamless experience of initiating a video or audio call between one or more participants, Meet calling complements Meet’s more structured, scheduled video meetings and better supports the ebbs and flows of hybrid work by allowing for more spontaneous connections. Google intends to bring Meet calling to all the natural endpoints in Workspace where you’d initiate an ad-hoc call including chats, contact cards, and spaces. Today, Google is announcing this will be coming first to 1:1 chats within the Gmail app.
  • Companion mode in Google Meet: Rolling out to all customers beginning in November, Companion mode will allow users to seamlessly join meetings from their personal device while leveraging in-room audio and video. 
  • Live-translated captions in Google Meet: Later this year, live-translated captions will be available in English to French, German, Spanish and Portuguese, with many more languages coming in the future, so attendees can follow along in the language of their choice from a personal device.

Google announced an expanded Google Meet hardware portfolio, equipped with two new meeting devices and new third-party integrations:

  • New all-in-one all video conferencing devices: Google is announcing Series One Board 65 and Series One Desk 27, new all-in-one video conferencing devices 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. Both devices feature collaboration capabilities with the Jamboard app built right in and can be used as an external display via USB-C. This also allows users to use the conferencing service of their choice with connection from their laptops. The new devices were developed in partnership with Avocor, a leader in interactive displays. 
  • New third party devices: Google has certified the Logitech Rally Bar Mini and Rally Bar to work with Google Meet, providing an all-in-one video bar for small and mid-sized rooms. Additionally, Appcessori 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.
  • Support for interop with devices from Webex by Cisco: Workspace customers may currently use Pexip for Google Meet to seamlessly join Meet meetings from the widest range of  3rd-party video conferencing solutions. Today, Google is announcing support for bidirectional interoperability with devices from Webex by Cisco and Google Meet hardware (rolling out later this year). This enables customers to launch a Google Meet meeting on Webex hardware and a Webex meeting on Google Meet hardware. Calling interop between Meet and Webex is supported on the Series One Board 65, Series One Desk 27, and the rest of the Google Meet hardware portfolio, as well as Webex Room Series, Room Kit Series, Desk Series and Board Series.

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