Google Workspace Unveils More Tools for Remote and Hybrid Teams

Google Workspace Unveils More Tools for Remote and Hybrid Teams

As Google rolls out a hybrid work policy across its own company, Google Workspace users will soon be able to connect and collaborate with a suite of new features for Spaces, Meet, and Voice.

Google Workspace introduces more features to improve collaboration and communication for remote and hybrid workers.

Workspace is Google’s productivity suite and includes tools such as Gmail, Sheets, Tasks, and Docs. It replaced G Suite in October 2020, and the tech giant has since made several updates to serve users working remotely or in hybrid environments.

New features announced today (March 31) include emoticon responses during meetings, new integrations, and automatic noise reduction privacy tools for Google Meet.

The company is also rolling out Google Voice to more users and adding it to Google Spaces, which launched last September to allow colleagues to share projects and collaborate virtually.

Google Spaces

Google is introducing inline threading in Spaces at the request of its business customers. This feature allows room members to respond to specific comments and have side conversations. Each teammate can easily browse a space and catch up on topics relevant to them, at a time that suits their schedule.

Last week, Google also allowed users to invite others to join a Space via a shared link. Later in the year, users will be able to search for Spaces and join an organization. The team size limits for Spaces will also be increased to 8,000 initially and later to 25,000 to support teams of all sizes.

Google Meet

At the Spaces unveiling last September, Google said Meet users will soon be able to take advantage of a “companion mode” that allows people to join meetings from their personal devices while using in-room audio and video. The company has also started rolling out automatic noise cancellation to remove background noise.

Google is now making improvements to its live streaming experience. Meet users can now host meetings of up to 500 active participants with the ability to livestream to audiences of up to 100,000 in trusted Workspace domains. Later in the year, meeting hosts will be able to stream meetings directly to YouTube.

To enable interaction between virtual Meet participants and their colleagues who work in the office, the latter group can add their own personal video tile from companion mode and their laptop camera, making it easier for other participants to see their expressions and gestures.

Starting next month, Meet users will be able to see their audience while presenting on the platform as Google brings a Picture-in-Picture feature to Meet in Chrome browsers. Presenters will be able to see up to four video tiles of meeting participants in a floating window above other applications while sharing content.

In May, Google will roll out optional client-side encryption in Google Meet. The feature, currently in beta, gives users direct control over encryption keys and the identity provider used to access those keys. Optional end-to-end encryption for all meetings will be introduced later this year.

Image: Google Workspace

Google Voice

Finally, Google Workspace is adding new features to its Google Voice phone service.

In an effort to help European customers adopt Google Voice, the company recently said that Google Voice calls between many European numbers are now included in licenses and are no longer subject to international and domestic tariffs.

Later this year, customers operating outside of current coverage areas will be able to holistically transition to Google Voice, and administrators will be able to manage carrier-provided numbers in addition to Google-provided numbers.

The tech company also plans to roll out on-demand call recording to Google Voice Standard and Premier subscribers next month. Premier subscribers will have the added benefit of automated call recording, which the company says is a top request from customers in regulated industries.

These latest additions to the Google Workspace suite come shortly after Google announced details of its own hybrid work plans, which will see most employees come to the office at least three days a week beginning April 4.

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