Just a few months back, Google rebranded Gsuite to Workspace with a new look (primarily logos) and a set of incremental features. The announcement was trolled quite a bit since there wasn't much that Google really added to its productivity suite of products.
But now, there's an announcement for a fresh set of changes that seem major and cater to the needs of remote workers. We'll come to what exactly those new set of features are but what struck me most the prelude to the announcement.
Google vocally addressed the fact that our ways of working (globally) have changed permanently. They believe hybrid is the future of work, where the blend of at-home and in-office work will become the norm.
It's high time large tech companies lead the charge & vocally accept that remote working is the more efficient & better way of working.
So back to the changes Google has brought into Workspace.
Google Workspace Frontline
It's common knowledge that all the amazing digital collaboration tools have mostly found adoption among knowledge workers. Frontline workers including nurses, warehouse employees, grocery store associates etc. rarely have access to these. Major part of the reason is that these tools are never created with frontline workers in mind.
Google promises to change that by providing a new custom solution targeted primarily at frontline workers.
So what's new in this?
- Building custom apps on top of tools like Google Sheets & Drive
- Safe & secure access across all devices (particularly helpful for people who work on field)
We are yet to see how helpful these features actually turn out to be, but it's nice for once to see a large tech company create solutions with frontline workers in mind.
A hybrid or remote future of work implies not everyone (even in your small team) is available/working at the same time. The traditional workday is dead and remote workers prefer working in blocks of time that best suits them.
So what is Google doing about this?
1) Communicate your availability in a better way to your colleagues
- Ability to split your work day into segments or work hours in Google Calendar
- Recurring out-of-office entries
2) Time Insights: Get to know how much time you spent on doing focused work vs meetings & 1:1s in Google Calendar.
Better video experience on mobile devices and connecting across devices through Google Meet
Google Meet will undergo changes through which you will be able to connect to a call through a mix of devices.
At the same time, they are also improving your Google Meet video experience on mobile devices. Ideal for remote workers on the go.
Samuel, Cloud Engineer at Noblesoft, had a fun take on this showing the mixed reception. In his exact words: 'Recently I have been playing with some productivity apps, and these last days I started with Notion. I think is hard to be migrating from one tool to another, said that. Sorry Google, but I will not use you for now. Haha'