Google Announces Hybrid Work Enhancements for Workspace

Posted on September 8, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google, Microsoft 365 with 6 Comments

Today, Google announced a set of coming updates to its Microsoft 365 competitor, called Google Workspace.

“In June, we shared our vision for navigating the future of hybrid work with a single connected experience in Google Workspace,” Google’s Sanaz Ahari writes in the announcement post. “Now, as many of our customers begin to embark on their own hybrid journeys, I wanted to share how we’re helping them bridge the gaps in this new way of working.”

Here are the announcements:

Spaces improvements. Spaces is Google’s team collaboration solution, and it will be augmented in the coming months with improved navigation, discovery configuration, enhanced search, in-line topic threading, and new security and admin features.

Hybrid work improvements. With more and more companies supporting remote workers, Google Workspace users will soon be able to indicate their virtual or physical presence when accepting meeting invites. Google Meet is being updated to support one-on-one team chats in the Gmail mobile app. And a new Meet feature called Companion mode will roll lout in November, letting users host or join a meeting from a conference room while using a laptop and leveraging the in-room audio and video, without any awkward audio feedback.

New first-party meeting hardware. Google announced two new all-in-one video conferencing devices that it says will complement its Series One Room Kits. The Series One Desk 27 is an all-in-one 27-inch device designed for small shared spaces in the office or at home. And the Series One Board 65 is an all-in-one 65-inch 4K device that can be paired with an optional stand to turn any space into a video collaboration hub. Both feature a built-in Jamboard app and both can be used as an external display.

New third-party hardware. Google also announced new third-party Meet devices that are coming soon, including the Logitech Rally Bar Mini and Rally Bar, and the Rayz Rally Pro, a new mobile device speaker dock.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Google Announces Hybrid Work Enhancements for Workspace”

  1. Chris_Kez

    Many of these improvements will be welcomed by current Workspace users (count me among them), but the biggest thing holding back Workspace adoption/conversion right now is ... lack of adoption/conversion. We tried the Google thing for five years and went back to Office 365 because all of our clients and business partners were on it. Also, Microsoft improved the web/collaboration stuff stuff significantly over that time. Or maybe put another way-- Office became a viable G Suite replacement faster than G Suite could become a viable Office replacement.

    • vladimir

      I agree that the usability of Microsoft office apps for collaboration improved, but not enough. Real time collaboration on a word or excel file is still a painful experience in comparison with Google corresponding apps. In terms of features, Google is still lacking a lot, to the point that word, excel and PowerPoint are a de facto standard

  2. bluvg

    65 is what Microsoft should have gone for with the smaller Surface Hub. 55 is a touch too small.

  3. red.radar

    I find the stock photography fascinating.

    The people you need to convince are older executive types. It needs to look older, more business casual, more traditional. Get the execuitves to buy into the vision then adoption should improve.

    • rickeveleigh

      bloke on the right is playing hipster bingo.

      • red.radar

        The meeting setup doesn’t at all look ergonomic. Sitting on an ottoman with no back support and no writing surface is rather terrible. But I guess you can reach down and drum a nice beat since its made of wood.

        If I can’t have a traditional conference room setup. I rather have a table that supports standing only if you want trendy.