Google Workspace adds new features to help remote workers

2 Mar 2021506 Views

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The company said the tools will improve ‘collaboration equity’ among employees working in different remote locations and offices.

Google has added a collection of new features to Google Workspace to help improve workflows and collaboration among remote workers.

The company launched Google Workspace, a replacement for G Suite, last October as a way to collate functions for Gmail, Chat, Drive and Docs for people at work, especially as they work from home.

Five months on, the tech giant has begun adding new features and refining existing ones. This includes moving its audio assistant, Google Assistant for Workspace, out of beta and launching it across the board for all users. It is also rolling out a version of Workspace for frontline workers.

It is launching features to improve time management and setting statuses across Workspace’s multiple components, and new tools for joining Google Meet video calls through multiple devices. Live streaming video will see improvements with live captioning in different languages rolled out.

Google Workspace Frontline is a dedicated version of the software suite for secure communication and collaboration between frontline workers and corporate teams. The company said this provides extra layers of security for sensitive communications and will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

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The company said in a blog post that the new features are intended to improve “collaboration equity”, where remote workers aren’t at a disadvantage when working with office-based employees.

It’s a difference that may not be apparent now as most staff continue to work from home, but as some employees return to the office and others stay remote, collaboration and communication breakdowns can occur.

A Gartner study from December 2020 suggested that around 90pc of companies plan to allow their staff to continue to work remotely after vaccines have been distributed en masse. Long-term remote and hybrid working plans have already been announced by companies such as Salesforce, Dropbox and Indeed.

“We’ve been experimenting with ways to bridge the gap between the in-person and the ‘somewhere else’ by pushing our technology and the physical spaces of our campuses to be more inclusive,” Javier Soltero, GM of Google Workspace, said.

“We’re looking for ways to maximise participation everywhere we can – from personal desk space to conference rooms to group collaboration areas.”

Large companies including Sony Pictures Imageworks and Airbus have signed up to use Workspace, according to Google.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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