Google is redesigning Gmail for G Suite experience that combines email, chat, video, and files
Google is now introducing redesigned G Suite productivity tools that will see a deep integration of Gmail, Chat, Meet, and Rooms on the web and on mobile, as well as other tools like Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This integration will become available in the G Suite early adopter program, with a wider roll-out coming at a later time.
It’s available this week as an Early Access Preview for G Suite customers and will be available to all G Suite customers later this year. For the consumer version of Gmail, there seems to be little change in the short term. Google says they are actively thinking through how and when to provide this experience to consumers who may want it.
According to some leaks, the smartphone Gmail app will see the addition of two more bottom tabs next to Mail and Meet: Chat and Rooms. The Chat will allow you to communicate with colleagues in direct messages, and Rooms will behave like group chats or Slack channels. People from your organization will also have access to shared files and tasks there, which should make working on long-term projects easier.
According to G Suite VP and GM Javier Soltero, the overall idea here is not just to bring all of these tools closer together to reduce the task-switching that users have to do.
Just like on the web, Google also revealed some of its plans when it first announced its latest major update to Gmail for mobile in May, with its Meet integration in the form of a new bar at the bottom of the screen for moving between Mail and Meet. With this, it’s expanding to include native Chat and Rooms support as well.
Much like the Gmail app, you’ll have access to Room-specific tasks and files, and you’ll even be able to edit documents right there, with a chat room on the left and a videoconferencing window floating on top of everything. You’ll also be able to access third-party apps through Gmail, like DocuSign, Salesforce, and Trello.
Other than that, G Suite users will get a “Do Not Disturb” status option to stop them from receiving notifications when they need to focus. They’re accompanied by status notifications like “Out of office” or “In a meeting” to help others understand why they’re not available.
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