Google Workspace’s new collaboration features: Smart Canvas


The annual Google Innovation in the Open conference (commonly referred to as Google I/O) took place last Tuesday 18 May through Thursday 20 May from Google HQ in Mountain View, California.

Here is the Onsite Helper roundup of some of the innovations that were on show.

Before we list what one can expect to be rolled out in the coming months, it’s worth looking at the new products and features through the lens of Google’s mission statement which is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Of late, Google seems to have attached or extended this into building a more helpful Google for everyone.

The products, features and services below certainly seem to achieve this. Here are a few headlines of the main announcements:

  • Google plan to be carbon free by the year 2030
  • Natural Language Understanding (LaMDA): chatbots tend to follow narrow, pre-defined paths. LaMDA will change this allowing for “free-flowing” conversation between applications and users.
  • Password Alerts: password alerts will let you know if any of your saved passwords have become compromised in a third party breach
  • TPU V4: Advances in the Google quantum computing journey. Their vision is to create an error-correcting quantum computer. No big deal!
  • Multitask Unified Model (MUM): Advanced search engine capabilities for improvements in results for more complex, search term queries
  • Project Starline: 3D imaging technology to make it feel like whomever you’re connecting with via videoconference is sitting across from you!

Check out some of the other updates:

16 updates from Google I/O that’ll make your life easier

Being a Google Workspace partner, at Onsite Helper we’re drawn to the Smart Canvas for Google Workspace announcement.

Smart Canvas will be built on top of Google Docs to help connect people and files. It builds upon the already existing @-mention function to tag colleagues in comments. New “building blocks” will now be included, which will include options for templates and checklists, with the aim of connecting people, content and events.

The @-function will also feature ‘smart chips’ which detail a person's location, job title and contact information. The smart chips will also recommend relevant files and meetings between people, which is almost like smart-compose but for files and meetings.

In 2020 Google brought Google Chat, Rooms and Meet into the Gmail interface. One of the main purposes of unifying these apps into one interface was to minimise shifting between multiple open tabs and windows.

Smart Canvas will add similar value, in that you can skim between meetings associated with a document, as well as people related to that project and other linked documents without changing tabs or contexts.

This will also eventually be rolled out to Google Sheets.

Are you on Google Workspace? Contact Onsite Helper today for a free account audit.

Are you interested in securing Google Workspace for your business? Contact us today to understand what next steps would look like.

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