It’s been quite the ride during Google’s nine-week Cloud Next ’20 On Air event. While the “per-week” investment isn’t a lot, it does force me to tune into Google’s channel each week. Maybe that’s the point? Check out my week 1 coverage here.
Last week, Google did a deeper dive on day two of Google Cloud Next 20’ On Air its new integrated redesign for G Suite. The goal of the updated workspace is to eliminate the time waste of having to jump on different platforms and services throughout the workday. Instead, it allows you to chat, email, call, collaborate, host files, and track tasks all in one place. You can access the G Suite application from the desktop site or mobile app. There are plenty of productivity applications like Skype, Zoom, and Slack, but this new integration of G Suite seems to be one of the most unified platforms yet.
New application format
This design introduces a “better home for work” at the perfect time as many employees are experiencing challenges maintaining productivity throughout the day, dealing with distractions at home, and receiving notifications from coworkers on multiple collaboration tools.
Instead of seeing the regular features in the Gmail app, there will be easily accessible tabs at the bottom of the screen where you can quickly shift from email, chat, rooms, and video chatting. Within each room, you can chat with teammates about a specific project, share files, and track progress through Tasks. It seems that with all these new features, Google is listening and responding to enterprise pain points.
Increased productivity and focus
Most enterprise teams use multiple platforms throughout the workday, such as Zoom, Skype, Outlook, and many others. Multiple platforms make productivity difficult as every employee has to check each platform randomly throughout the day for messages from coworkers. Seeing notifications from various platforms can take your focus off one task and creates unwanted distractions, especially during meetings or presentations.
I believe Google’s redesign is excellent because it allows employees to have all their applications in one place and only need to check notifications on a single platform. You can also manage the notification behavior from one place instead of having to change it on multiple applications for a single meeting. The muted notifications feature is useful for meetings that you are presenting in or when you don’t wish to be disturbed. You press “mute notifications,” and if a coworker tries to message you, it tells them how long you will be in meetings. This aids productivity during meetings diffuses multitasking when it is not beneficial.
Another great new feature is the Rooms application. This feature allows team members to co-edit a document in real-time while chatting about it on the side. With the concept of “zoom fatigue” hitting employees all over the globe, the Rooms feature helps eliminate unnecessary calls that can be solved through chat.
Enhanced Security Features
As businesses continue to work remotely, companies must maintain security for users and their data. According to Google, 6 million businesses rely on G Suite to protect their data. Google took a strong stance on application security by announcing 11 new security features in the redesign; here are a few:
- Knocking controls allow you to eject an attendee from the meeting and then must be re-invited by the host to rejoin.
- Safety locks allow the host of the meeting to choose which attendees can chat or present in a meeting.
- Phishing protection will be extended from Gmail to Google chat. Each link clicked in chat will be scanned in real-time and flagged for malicious content.
After COVID-19 accelerated the shift into remote working, organizations have strived and adapted to make remote working more collaborative for their employees. But this is not a temporary change, and these tools are something that will be ingrained in the future workspace. The more seamless it is to collaborate with peers, the easier it is to maintain productivity working from home and to make the most of their time. A potential challenge I see is that there may be a learning curve to adopting this workspace and eliminating other platforms. Luckily, there is no additional application to download other than the Gmail app, and all of these features can be accessed through G Suite on desktop and mobile.
This G Suite integration could potentially pose a future risk to Zoom and Slack as they do not have fully integrated platforms. Only Teams allows you to email, meet, chat, call, collaborate, and host files on one platform. I believe many enterprises in the future will look to use a single integrated platform, making G Suite a compelling option. But this update is not immediate; it will be available to the G Suite early adopter program, and the integration will roll out to wider users in the upcoming months.