Google Workspace, the suite of services that Google pitches to enterprise users, has received a sizeable update that brings new features designed to help you work better from home. The update comes at a time when many industries around the world are considering a return to their offices, but some form of remote work models are expected to be retained across various industries. The update brings with itself features such as Focus Time – a notification manager of sorts, as well as multi-screen support for Meet video conferencing.
Focus Time will help you set up a block of time on your Calendar, which may count as your core working hours. Once you set this up, Google will automatically mute most notifications to make sure that you can easily focus on work and not get distracted. This comes alongside the ability to set out-of-office and working hours as your Google status, as well as selecting your current location. These settings can let your contacts see your availability and also determine your time zone, and get in touch with you accordingly.
Focus Time will also sync with other Google services, such as Gmail and Chat, to update your status accordingly and reduce unwarranted work-time distractions. All of this, with the new version of Workspace, will tie together into something called Time Insights. This will break down your day into how long you spent in Focus Time (which may be time you were in meetings), duration spent in personal or group discussions, and also time spent outside office.
The other big new feature is a second screen support for Google Meet sessions. Essentially, you can log in to the same meeting from two different devices so that you can share your screen from one and attend conversation from the other. Rival services such as Zoom already support the ability to attend the same meeting from two different devices, so it’s good for Meet to support this too. On phones, Meet gets new tile and split screen views, and also Picture in Picture view support. All of this is expected to help you attend meetings in every way without needing to be tethered to one spot at home.
All things together, Google Workspace hopes to be more versatile for all work from home needs. The new features, however, will work best only if you are entirely invested in the Google ecosystem for work, so whether you find this useful or not will solely depend on the services that you use for work.