"The survivor is not the strongest, but the one who best adapts to the environment." During the coronavirus pandemic, this maxim has proved its validity in the context of business management tools. Those that were better set up for collaborative work, along with their new hybrid models, such as Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite), enabled organisations to continue working at a good pace and thus minimise the impact of the pandemic. And it doesn't stop there: this experience has served to develop and incorporate interesting improvements in the Google productivity suite that now come under the name of Smart Canvas.
During the recent I / O developer conference hosted by Google, the tech giant unveiled a new collaboration tool called Smart Canvas.
This new product represents an important step forward in terms of the integration and communication of several of the Google Workspace productivity tools, such as Google Docs, Sheets, Meets, Slides and Tasks. According to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, it facilitates hybrid working dynamics including both remote and face-to-face work in teams, while optimising the user experience of these productivity tools.
Smart Canvas enables you to do the following, and more:
- Link different documents, spreadsheets and presentations
- Assign tasks to specific team members
- Prepare brainstorming tables for projects
- Create to-do lists and tag employees
Google Workspace adapts to hybrid collaboration models
Remote work or teleworking was adopted by many companies in order to maintain productivity levels during the height of the pandemic as far as possible. As medical data have improved and mobility restrictions have been eliminated, a new work model has appeared on the horizon: a hybrid one, combining time spent physically present in the office with remote work from the employee’s home.
With Smart Canvas, Google adapts to this new work environment, allowing its collaboration tools to offer maximum benefit in terms of productivity for the organisation. Attractive new features in Google Workspace that achieve this include new features such as the following:
- Cross mentions in documents. This is one of the main novelties that Smart Canvas brings to Google Workspace. It makes it possible to connect documents, templates, task lists and users via an @ tag plus the name of the document you want to link.
- Detailed information of contact cards. Closely related to cross-mentions, via this feature the user can obtain a brief summary of the files or contact details associated with the linked persons, or for example see if there are meetings or events scheduled with this person. In this way, user experience is improved, since the user does not have to move between tabs or windows to have an initial view of these elements. This functionality will be available in Docs in the next few days, and will arrive in Sheets in the coming months.
- Improved common team workflows in Google Docs. Google Docs permits you to make checklists available on the web and on mobile devices. It will make it easier to assign items on the list to specific people, who will then see this task displayed in their Google Tasks environment.
- Table and note templates in Google Docs. Google Workspace’s editing function includes table templates for specific purposes, which represents a very useful function in the case of projects. For example, topic voting tables and project tracking tables are included. Finally, there is a new template for taking meeting notes, which can also be linked to Google Calendar in order to more easily send invitations to new meetings, for example.
- Page-free format in Google Docs. To make it easier to work on multiple devices (computers, laptops, and even tablets or smartphones), Google Docs offers the option of removing page boundaries. Should you need to print or convert to PDF, it is easy to return to the delimitations of the page format.
- New views in Sheets. Google Sheets, the Google Workspace spreadsheet, has a choice of views when working with these types of files in order to better manage the data that is included. One of the best examples is a timeline view for quick and easy tracking of project tasks.
Smart Canvas optimises communication between teams
Smart Canvas represents an important step forward in incorporating Google Meet, the Google Workspace videoconferencing tool, with the rest of the tools in this suite. The technology giant has focused on making it simple to both incorporate content in conversations and vice versa.
Some of the main novelties incorporated by Smart Canvas are:
- Presenting content via a Google Meet online call directly from the document, sheet, or slide where team members are collaborating. Combining both aspects streamlines project development, and the concentrated dynamic it promotes helps the project and the team stay focused.
- Direct integration of Meet with Docs, Sheets and Presentations on the Web. This functionality makes it easier for the people involved in a project to interact audiovisually while working as a team.
- Increased subtitles in meetings and translations on Google Meet. This functionality, especially useful in international projects, will facilitate communication between multilingual teams. Smart Canvas will add new languages to the subtitles (currently 5 available) and can translate them in real time. At the time of launch, English subtitles will be translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French or German.
- Greater viewing area for people and content in meetings. These functionalities improve the user experience in the meeting. It is also possible to pin and unpin content and video feeds, as well as turn off a user’s self-feed.
- Integration between Google chat and content creation tools. A good idea expressed in a chat conversation can quickly take shape in a Google Workspace file thanks to this new functionality. This functionality will be available for documents and spreadsheets in the coming days, and will be available for presentations soon.
Advances in security and artificial intelligence
Daily use of Google Workspace constitutes a fundamental resource for optimising the Artificial Intelligence tools included in the collaboration and productivity suite, such as the grammar suggestions (also known as writing assistant) in Docs or the smart files in Drive.
The latest features to be included in this area are:
- Advanced writing in Google Docs. Google Workspace’s text editor incorporates new options for improving the written text. For example, it will warn about bad or offensive words and suggest changes to the wording aimed at improving the readability of the texts.
- New assisted analysis functionalities in Google Sheets. With formula suggestions that make it easy for everyone, not just analysts, to gain insights from the data. Smart sheets help you create and troubleshoot formula problems, streamlining data analysis and reducing errors.
- Optimisation of third-party software integration with Google Workspace. Google has worked to improve compatibility between its own productivity products and the main management tools employed by its users (for example, a connector between Sheets and Salesforce). One example of note is AppSheet Automatisation facilitating the automation of business processes and tasks (approving invoices, for example) without the need to write lines of code.
- Improved security capabilities. Google Workspace incorporates advanced security features against threats of this nature (phishing, cybercrime, etc.) and online abuse in order to guarantee maximum protection for its users and their information.
Given all the above, incorporating Smart Canvas into Google Workspace represents an important advance in the paradigm of business productivity and collaboration tools.
At Intelligence Partner, as a Google Premium Partner, we already know both Google Workspace and the new Smart Canvas features in depth.
Do you want to know how this advanced collaboration solution can help you? Get in touch with us and together we will find the best formula for your company.