Google has announced even more features in Workspace, with the aim of improving the productivity of those in smart working or in any case in a hybrid working mode. Although Google has anticipated a few small changes to come, the biggest change is that Gmail will be redesigned and will reveal its true nature: the central hub for every Google communications app. It will indeed be possible receive calls and video calls directly on Gmail.
It will be possible to answer calls and video calls directly from Gmail
To get started, Google is adding the ability to “Ring” another Google user with Google Meet, but within the Gmail mobile app, not within the Meet app. When the feature is implemented, the Gmail app will be able to receive calls like any other VOIP app (in addition to being able to participate in Google Meet meetings). Google says that in the future the Meet app will also have the same ability to make calls, not just create group meetings.
Gmail is essentially Google’s equivalent to Microsoft’s Outlook. AND a central hub for multiple services. Outlook is Microsoft’s hub for email, calendar and contacts; Gmail is Google’s hub for email, one-on-one chats, group chats, video conferences, and now calls. The dedicated email part of Gmail is now simply a tab, alongside three other tabs: Chat, Spaces e Meet.
“Spaces” is the Google rebranding of “Rooms”, a product similar to Slack which offers group chat. Google has simplified the search within it and added full support for threaded messages. As with other group chat apps, the threads will appear in an additional column on the right side. This means that a Spaces user can have up to five different columns of information on the screen at the same time.
Google claims that users will be able to hide the tabs they don’t use and that the redesign will be rolled out to business users first, in the next weeks. After that, it will start appearing in Gmail for regular consumers.
The other news from Google
As for the smaller updates, Google Calendar will now allow you to respond to a meeting invitation indicating your location.
Finally, Google is expanding the line “Series One” of hardware compatible with Google Meet. Unlike “Made by Google” hardware like the Pixel, Series One devices are made by other companies, with a design consistent with Google’s and optimized for Google’s software. The most interesting device is the Series One Desk 27. It’s a touchscreen display designed primarily to serve as a Google Meet video conferencing station, but it also has a simple USB-C port and can serve as an external monitor for a laptop.
There is also the Series One Board 65, a TV that is also capable of accepting stylus input. Google claims that both will run on Chrome OS and are “all-in-one meeting devices”. The devices are made by Avocor and will be launched in 2022.