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Google announces G Suite integrated workplace, new security features

Google Cloud has announced a new G Suite integrated workspace that combines Gmail, Google Chat and Google Meet. 

The major update aims to improve collaboration, navigation, and search by bringing together video, chat, email, files, and tasks, in line with Google’s long-term vision to seamlessly integrate its core workplace products.

New features include improved workflow and search functionality between Gmail, Google Chat and Meet; enhanced collaboration in Chat through shared files and tasks for managing projects; new ways to prioritise including ‘pin’ tools and setting status or availability  ; and third-party integrations Salesforce, DocuSign and Trello

In addition to the new user experience, G Suite also announced several new security features for Gmail, Meet and Chat, including new security controls for Meet – including meeting knocking, advanced meeting locks, and abuse reporting and detection; and phishing protections for Chat & Gmail – now if a phishing link is sent via Chat, that link will be flagged in real time. 

These protections are also being extended to rooms in Chat, enabling users to report and block rooms if malicious activity is suspected. 
Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager, G Suite, says it was becoming clear that new ways of working, such as virtual meetings, remote collaboration and flexible hours, were here to stay.

"In my conversations with customers and business leaders since the onset of COVID-19, I’ve seen workplace transformation go from an almost theoretical long-term goal to an urgent priority. Employers and workers want more flexible ways of working, and delivering on this requires the right technology," he explains.

"But flexibility isn’t the only thing that workers want. Remote working has significantly increased the demands we’re getting from many directions—in both our professional and our personal lives," he says.

"People tell us they feel overloaded with too much information and too many tasks across too many different tools. Instead of learning another tool, we need the tools we already use to be even more helpful, and work together, in an integrated, intuitive way.

"G Suite now intelligently brings together the people, content, and tasks you need to make the most of your time. We’re integrating core tools like video, chat, email, files, and tasks, and making them better together, so that you can more easily stay on top of things, from anywhere," Soltero says.

"As we looked at ways to deepen the integration between email, chat, and video—three core pillars of communication—we started where most of us begin our workday: our inbox. To easily join video meetings straight from your inbox, we brought Meet into Gmail on the web, Android, and iOS—and made it free for everyone. 

"And last month, we brought Google Chat into Gmail on web to help you communicate more seamlessly, without the disruption of switching tabs. Soon, Chat will join Gmail on Android and iOS, making it even easier to do more from one place, wherever you are," he says.

The new integrated workspace makes it easer for users to access third-party apps, including DocuSign, Salesforce, and Trello.

"One thing we’ve heard again and again from our users is how switching between apps interrupts their flow—and their focus. That’s why in this new integrated experience, we’ve been thoughtful about how to help you work more fluidly," Soltero says.

"A few examples: you can quickly join a video call from a chat, forward a chat message to your inbox, create a task from a chat message—everything connects together in a way that makes it easy for you to manage the flow of your work and get more done."

The company has also expanded Gmail’s search capability to include Chat.

It has also introduced several tools to help users prioritise and stay focused. 

Users can now pin important rooms so they’re easier to find and access; set availability to “Do Not Disturb”; and better protect their time with status notices like “Out of office”.

"For flexible work models to succeed, organisations must continue to maintain security and compliance for their users and data," Soltero says.

"More than six million businesses trust and rely on G Suite to protect their most sensitive data. Today, we’re also announcing several new security features for Meet and Chat," he says.

"In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out new security capabilities for Google Meet that give hosts even more control over meetings, such as who can join or collaborate within them."

Starting with consumer and G Suite for Education customers, these features will include:

  • Knocking controls: Once an attendee is ejected, they won't be able to attempt to join the same meeting again by knocking, unless the host re-invites them.
  • Safety locks: Hosts can now decide which attendees can chat or present in the meeting.

In addition, we’ll be extending the strong phishing protections that we’ve built within Gmail to Google Chat. For example, if a user clicks on a link in Chat, it will be scanned in real-time and flagged if it’s found to contain malicious content. Stay tuned for more details on our new security features.

"In the future, you’ll see our integrated workspace expand even further—with features like picture-in-picture video calls right in Gmail; the integration of Google Meet into our content tools like Docs, Sheets, and Slides; and more," says Soltero. 

"Our goal is to provide an intelligent and seamless solution that gives everyone the ability to make a real impact, and the flexibility to work exactly where and how they want."

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