Real-time messaging, video chatting, and just-like-that file sharing have become everyday norms in the digital world now, and it’s hard to imagine that there’s anyone who doesn’t take advantage of what these technological advances have made available to use these days. Venturing into this space isn’t without risk of venture capitalists-slash-software developers these days, as Zoom’s recent fall from grace regarding the ‘zoom bombing’ incidents have made clear. The demand for these conveniences – especially in the workplace – mean that all the big players need to be onboard to at least some extent.
Now if there’s one thing we know about Google it’s that they’re not hesitant to throw their weight around and they’ll be onboard of anything to whichever extent they’re inclined. Which likely explains why they’re making strategic moves to counter their #1 rival at the top of the digital kingdom when it comes to these kinds of flash communication and sharing means. Microsoft’s Teams has made meteoric gains over the last little while (and in large part at the expense of Zoom if we’re to call it like it is), so it makes sense that Google is going to get their elbows up a bit.
Here at 4GoodHosting, we can relate to the growing ubiquitous nature of these apps and digital conveniences and like any other quality Canadian web hosting provider we’re the same types of enthusiasts for them that the rest of you all are. Time during the workday is an invaluable resource, and these ones make it so that many of us are working much more effectively and on-point with co-workers. Productivity is a great thing.
So let’s now get into what we’re talking about here today, how Gmail is being revamped to expand its already-significant sphere of influence over people in the world of digital communications.
Big Hub Getting Bigger
So here we are these past two weeks with Google having unveiled a revamped Gmail that will serve as an even bigger hub for collaboration and providing quick access to video, chat and shared files available directly from the email client. Not only is this being done in direct competition with Microsoft Teams but it is also being done to solidify its position against newcomers that might fancy a slice of the pie.
Google began by integrating its various G Suite apps with Gmail, and that involved the Meet video and Chat team messaging applications being slowly but deliberately integrated into the email client. Word in the industry is that Google has had this play in mind for a long time and sees Gmail as the most logical home base for this strategic collaboration.
A new Gmail app unveiled at the company’s Cloud Next event on Wednesday underscored Google’s intention to connect its various tools even more tightly.
The most noteworthy of what we can expect here is an updated mobile app with quick access to Mail, Chat, Rooms and Meet functionality via four buttons on the bottom menu bar. In these ‘rooms’ users will be able to jump straight into a group chat, for example.
Google is also aiming to make it much simpler to switch between apps in the browser-based version of Gmail, like jumping from a text chat to a video call or flipping a conversation from an email into a chat room without missing a beat. The belief is that the primary reason this will appeal to users is because it will reduce distractions. This then allows the participants to be having their conversations in the most appropriate channels more naturally, and that could be for real-time conversations, face-to-face video, or email for asynchronous messaging.
This is also being lauded as having the potential to boost productivity in a big way, and find us a department manager anywhere on earth who won’t really like the sound of that. This revamped Gmail and its functionalities will include ‘side-by-side’ document editing that lets team members work together on a document within Gmail.
You’ll also have access to Google Docs and Sheets from within a single app, and that functionality is probably fairly intentional with the way it mirrors Microsoft’s focus with Teams and having it act as a portal to its Office apps.
On the Menu
Here’s what else is going to be unveiled with the new Gmail:
- Expanded Gmail search that can oversee Chat conversations quickly and effectively, with the idea of making it easier to locate information on a specific project, regardless of where that information is located or where the discussion of it got its start.
- Do not disturb and out-of-office warnings able to be set up across the various apps, along with suggestions and nudges that can aid with prioritizing information.
- New features like the freedom to jump into a video meeting from a shared document with picture-in-picture video that lets you still reference the document directly while you’re meeting to discuss it
If you’d like some visuals to go along with your enticement package, the new Gmail is currently available as a preview, and the word on the street is that Google will be expanding access to G Suite customers nearly imminently here.
Search on Steroids
Most people can relate to having the search function in their email client coming up really short, especially after manually digging over however long a period of time reveals the email / information you were looking for all along. So the good news here is that this revamping is also going to include an expanded Gmail search will cover Chat conversations, making it easier to locate information on any specific project and get right down to utilizing it without delay.
By fixing Gmail as the focal point of its collaboration strategy, Google is definitely playing to its existing strengths. Especially as it is competing with other collaboration vendors offering a suite of apps, and many of them have already made their initial inroads in this regard.
What Google has going for it that counters any such leads is the fact they are the de-facto number one Internet giant, and there’s no reason to think they won’t be the preferred central hub for productivity within G Suite in very short order once G suite apps are strengthened in as far as their ability to work together with massively increased functionality.
No need to necessarily be watching for this, as it’s likely going to be impossible to miss even if you’re not paying even an ounce of attention but you spend any portion of your workday on a computer or mobile device. As the expression goes, ‘you can’t stop progress.’