In an effort to further its vision for hybrid work (opens in new tab) through a single connected experience, Google has announced that Spaces are now available for all Google Workspace (opens in new tab) users.
Spaces are a central place for team collaboration (opens in new tab) in Google Workspace and they are tightly integrated with other tools from the search giant including Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet and Tasks. They also provide a better way for users to engage in topic-based discussions, share knowledge and ideas, move projects forward and build communities and team culture.
As workforces become more distributed with some employees working from home (opens in new tab) while others are in the office, Spaces also provide a way for anyone at an organization to see the full history, context and content of conversations so they can follow along and jump in to contribute at any time.
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Senior director of product management for Google Workspace, Sanaz Ahari explained in a press release how the company designed Spaces to address the challenges its own distributed workforce faces, saying:
“As some people return to the office, teams need that ability to flexibly collaborate from anywhere, anytime. At Google, we face the same challenges that I’ve heard from many of our customers: how do we stay in sync, make decisions, and build team culture in a hybrid environment? The innovations we’re bringing to customers today help bridge the gaps of virtual and in-person collaboration. I’m especially excited about spaces - a new, dedicated place in Google Workspace to share information, advance projects, and build community as teammates.”
In addition to rolling out Spaces, Google also announced some new features and new third-party hardware to help make hybrid meetings easier for organizations.
Employees can now indicate whether they'll be attending virtually or physically (opens in new tab) when responding to meeting invites but they can also set their working location (opens in new tab) in Google Calendar (opens in new tab) to show other which days of the week they plan to be in the office.
Google has also added Google Meet (opens in new tab) calling to Workspace to provide users with a seamless experience when starting a video or audio call between one or more participants. Going forward, the company intends to bring Meet calling to all the natural endpoints in Workspace including chats, contact cards and spaces. However, this feature will first roll out in the Gmail (opens in new tab) app for one-to-one chats.
When it comes to new third-party hardware, Google announced the Series One Board 65 and Series One Desk 27 and these new all-in-one video conferencing (opens in new tab) devices complement Series One room kits. While the Series One Desk 27 is configured for desktops and small shared spaces, the Series One Board 65 is designed for team rooms. At the same time, Google has also certified the Logitech Rally Bar Mini and Rally Bar (opens in new tab) to work with Google Meet to provide an all-in-one video bar for small and mid-sized rooms.
Now that Google has even gone to the extent of releasing its own Hybrid Handbook (opens in new tab), expect the company to continue updating its products and services to better support hybrid work.
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