In brief: Google is doing its best to empower workers amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and one way the tech giant hopes to accomplish that goal is through sweeping changes to Gmail — for G Suite customers, anyway.
These changes were announced in a blog post published by Google earlier today. In the post, Google lays out its plan to offer customers a “better home for work” by uniting several of its core productivity services under Gmail’s banner.
In the near future, Chat, Rooms, Meet, Docs, Mail, and more will be accessible (in some capacity) from the same Gmail interface for G Suite users.
On desktop, these different tools will show up on the left-hand side of your browser, giving you quick access to groups (and their associated files and tasks), private chats, as well as voice and video calls. On mobile, they will show up in a new navigation bar at the bottom of your display.
As an example of how tightly-integrated these services will be, you could send a quick message to a coworker using Chat on the left half of your screen and simultaneously edit a document on the right — all while participating in a video conference via a pop-out window (which can follow you from tool to tool).
It might sound a bit complicated, but Google hopes this streamlined toolset will allow for a more convenient work-from-home experience. Perhaps it will even let the tech company better compete with the likes of Microsoft Teams and Slack.
It’s not entirely clear when these new Gmail integrations will roll out for the general G Suite userbase. However, you can sign up to be notified when they go live on the official announcement page.