Google on Wednesday rolled out a series of updates to its collaboration tools for G Suite users. In addition to more deeply integrating G Suite's chat, file sharing and video tools with Gmail, Google on Wednesday announced several new security features for Meet and Chat.
"Instead of learning another tool, we need the tools we already use to be even more helpful, and work together, in an integrated, intuitive way," Javier Soltero, VP & GM of G Suite, said in a blog post.
There are several enhancements to "rooms" within Chat -- the feature within Google's messaging platform that serve a similar function to group chats. Room create a shared space where teams can collaborate -- now, users can access shared files and tasks directly in rooms. Users can also now create rooms that include people outside of their company, such as contractors or consultants. Additionally, users can open and co-edit documents in rooms, without leaving Gmail.
There are other new capabilities designed to reduce switching between tools, such as the ability to join a video call from a chat, or create a task from a chat message. Additionally, the search function within Gmail now includes results from Chat.
Google is also adding third-party integrations to Gmail, Chat and rooms, including DocuSign, Salesforce and Trello.
Google also plans to roll out new security features for Chat and Meet in the coming weeks, starting with consumer and G Suite for Education customers. Hosts within these tools will be able to use safety locks to decide which attendees can chat or present in a meeting. They'll also be able to use knocking controls, to keep ousted attendees from attempting to rejoin a meeting by knocking. Chat will also be upgraded with new phishing protections.
The company teased other new "integrated workspace" features coming in the future, such as picture-in-picture video calls in Gmail and the integration of Google Meet into content tools like Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Earlier this year, in response to increased demand for collaboration tools during the COVID-19 crisis, Google rolled out similar updates, bringing Meet directly to Gmail and then making the video conferencing tool free for everyone.