announced Google has announced more Google Workspace features, as part of a growing cadence of changes in its communications software suite over the past year or so.
And while there are still a few small updates coming soon, the biggest change is the redesign of Gmail that reveals its true nature to the company: the central hub for every communications app.
The company is adding the ability to contact another Google user using Google Meet. But within the Gmail mobile app, not within the Google Meet app.
When the feature is rolled out and turned on, it’s possible to invoke Gmail like any other VOIP app (plus the ability to join Google Meet meetings).
The company says the standalone Google Meet app is getting the same ability to make calls, not just create group meetings, at some point in the future.
The change reveals how important Gmail is to the larger changes taking place within Google Workspace. The company wants to take advantage of Gmail’s popularity to increase adoption of its other services.
Gmail is now Google’s equivalent of Microsoft’s Outlook. And that after it became a central center for multiple services.
Outlook is Microsoft’s home for email, calendar, and contacts, and Gmail is Google’s hub for email, one-to-one chats, group chats, video conferencing, and calls.
The company renamed Rooms as Spaces, a Slack-like product that offers group chats.
By renaming, the company is making it easier to find Spaces by making them discoverable via search (as an option) and also adding full support for threaded messages.
As with other group chat apps, threads appear in an additional column on the right side.
The company says that users are able to hide tabs they are not using, as before.
The redesign will roll out to enterprise users first, in the coming weeks. After that, it starts showing up in Gmail for regular customers.
Read also: Create folders in Gmail to organize your inbox
Google makes Gmail a center for voice and video calls
For smaller updates, Google Calendar now allows you to respond to a meeting invitation with your location.
The company is launching a so-called Companion Mode feature in November. It’s the system that lets you log into a meeting via your laptop along with the main room’s audio and video system, and it’s muted by default.
The company is expanding its Series One line of Google Meet-compatible devices. And unlike Made by Google devices like Pixel, Series One devices are made by other companies. This is to appear to fit the aesthetic of Google’s design and work primarily with Google programs.
The company is partnering with Cisco to ensure that devices designed for Google Meet are able to connect to Webex meetings. And that devices designed for Webex are able to connect to Google Meet.
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