What collaboration using Google Workspace will look like post-2020

With the workplace redefined and our lives changed, Google is taking our needs into account with these new productivity-enhancing updates.

a month ago   •   4 min read

By Angelique Tzanakakis

15 years ago, Google allowed us to realise the importance of collaboration when working on documents. But a lot has changed since then, especially after 2020. The future of work and workspaces are a testament to that. Collaboration has become one of the most important considerations - closely followed by the need to simplify our lives and digital experiences. Google Workspace is facilitating these new needs with smart canvas.

With these new features, Google Workspace is further enhancing collaboration and making the product even more flexible, interactive and intelligent. While not all of these features are available at the time of writing this, they will be by the end of 2021.

These are the 10 new features some of which have been introduced while others are on their way:

An update to the classic: not only can you @-mention people, you can now mention files and meetings

Since most of us use or have used, social media recently, you know that you can tag another user using the @ symbol. While this feature is not new, it has been extended to recommend files and meetings. This is available on both web and mobile, allowing collaborators to quickly skim associated meetings and people or preview linked documents, without changing tabs or contexts. Smart chips will come to Sheets in the coming months.

Inclusive language recommendations, as well as new assisted writing features

To add to the current assisted writing feature, new features will be added that suggest inclusive recommendations where appropriate. For example, it will suggest you use “chairperson” instead of “chairman,” or “mail carrier” instead of “mailman”.

Another improvement includes stylistic suggestions, like avoiding passive voice or offensive language. Allowing you to speed up your editing, and make your writing stronger.

Pageless Docs

Pageless Docs is a new visual format that will make your life easier. This feature lets you remove the boundaries of a page to create a surface that expands to whatever device or screen you’re using, making it easier to work with wide tables, large images or detailed feedback in comments. Don’t panic, though - you will be able to easily switch out of the pageless view if you need to print or create a PDF.

Connected checklists in Docs

With checklists you can now assign checklist items to other people and see these action items in Google Tasks, making it easier for everyone to manage a project’s To-Do list.

Smarter meeting notes template in Docs

The new Docs template will automatically import any relevant information from a Calendar meeting invite, including smart chips for attendees and attached files.

Create and edit Sheets, Docs and Slides from Google Chat rooms

To make life even easier, you can now go from discussions in Google Chat directly to building content together. Creating and editing Sheets and Docs from Google Chat rooms is available on the web experience, and Slides will get this feature in the coming weeks.

Table templates in Docs

Another exciting upcoming feature is the introduction to table templates in Docs. Topic-voting tables will let you gather team feedback while project-tracker tables capture milestones and statuses in real-time.

Timeline view in Sheets

With new views in Sheets, you can better manage and interact with your data. The initial launch will be a timeline view to track tasks easier and faster. This flexible view organised your data by the owner, category, campaign, or whichever attribute fits best. Thereby strengthening your ability to manage things like marketing campaigns, project milestones, schedules, and cross-team collaborations.

More assisted analysis functionality in Sheets

New assisted analysis functionality in the Sheets web experience is going to be introduced. These include formula suggestions that make it easier for everyone to derive insights from data. Sheets intelligence helps you build and troubleshoot formulas, making data analysis faster and reducing errors.

Evolving Rooms in Google Chat to Spaces to create a richer, more collaborative experience

Recently, Google announced new forthcoming features in Google Chat. These features will aid collaboration between people in the office but also remote colleagues.

Another innovation to look forward to later this year - Google is going to evolve the Rooms experience in Google Chat to Spaces. Spaces will be a dedicated place to organise your work in Google Workspace. It’s not just a new name! There will be new features such as:

  • In-line topic threading
  • Presence indicators
  • Assigned tasks
  • Expressive reactions, custom statuses using emojis, and GIFs
  • Content search across Spaces
  • Message pinning
  • User roles and moderation tools, and
  • Discoverable spaces

To get a more detailed view of this you can read the in-depth announcement here.

A feature that deserves recognition:

With all the talk of new features, I think it’s only fair that we recognise an existing feature loved by many - voice typing. In Google Slides, you’re able to voice type your Speaker notes. This feature is also available in Google Docs.

Google is constantly updating their products to better suit the users’ needs to ensure their products are as useful as possible. You can find these announcements on their blog.

If there’s one thing that has been made clear over the last year (and a bit) is that the traditional workplace may be a thing of the past for some companies. We have seen that companies like Google and products like Google Workspace make working easier whether you’re in person or not.

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