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Google Workspace updates are coming to Google Meet, Chat and Voice

Google Workspace
(Image credit: Google)

Google has announced a series of updates across its Workspace services including tweaks to Google Meet, Chat and Voice.

The refresh is designed to give users more tools to suit the ever-evolving workplace experience, especially for those using a remote or hybrid-style (opens in new tab) arrangement.

Google Meet gets the lion’s share of the updates, with the focus on making meetings more secure and inclusive. Coming next month will be a new in-meeting reactions feature, which will offer the quick and easy use of emojis, with the reactions appearing in a participants video tile.

In the next few weeks Google will bring Meet directly to Docs, Sheets and Slides, allowing users to start a meeting while showcasing any relevant content, all from the same tab.

Google is also adding picture-in-picture to Meet running on Chrome browsers, aimed at making it easier for presenters to see their audience all while navigating tabs and windows. Up to four video tiles of attendees can be seen as a floating window on top of other applications.

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Better security and easier collaboration

Meanwhile, to supplement the recent rollout of Companion Mode for Meet, there will be automatic noise cancellation as part of Google Meet hardware. The aim is to allow users to filter out those annoying and occasionally embarrassing background disturbances that can take the shine off a professional business meeting.

What's more, Google plans to let people in conference rooms add their own personal video tile from Companion mode using their laptop camera. There will be Q&A and polls for livestream attendees plus the ability to stream meetings directly from YouTube in due course, which can be accessed via the Meet activities tab. 

Improvements to security in meetings is being lined up too and, from May, users will get the option of client-side encryption for Google Meet. End-to-end encryption for all meetings is pencilled in for later in the year.

Elsewhere, Google Chat is getting some revisions including inline threading, which aims to streamline collaborations, along with making it more shareable. As an added bonus, Google Chat and Spaces will benefit from beefier search functionality using filter chips. Team size limits will be bolstered too, with Google increasing this from 8,000 to 25,000 thereby offering greater flexibility to a wider range of businesses.

Similarly, improvements are being made to user roles and moderation with new features that offer the ability to designate managers and allow them to carry out increased administration tasks, such as being able to delete Spaces.

Google Voice is getting some enhancements too, on top of the recent announcement that calls from European Google Voice numbers to mobile and landline numbers in many European countries will be included in the Google Voice license. There’ll be SIP link, letting customers connect SIP trunks from their preferred telecoms carrier via certified session border controllers from Audiocodes, Cisco, Oracle, and Ribbon. 

In addition, users can look forward to the arrival of on-demand call recording for Google Voice Standard and Premier subscribers from next month. Premier subscribers will have the additional benefit of automated call recordings, which is a top request from customers in regulated industries.

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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.