Google Announces New Gmail Redesign

Bethany Howell

A new Gmail redesign will integrate Chat, Meet, and document collaboration all in one place – allowing users to work with colleagues without leaving Gmail.

Leaked images of the redesign were originally spotted on Google’s website last week. Following this leak, the company has unveiled a grand redesign of Gmail for G Suite business users, ahead of next week’s Google Cloud conference. 

In addition to the incorporation of collaborating tools, Google will also introduce new security measures, giving users more control over their meetings.

What Are The New Features?

Changes to Google Chat

Last month, the company brought Google Chat into Gmail to help customers communicate more seamlessly, without the disruption of switching tabs. Now, the company is adding Chat to Gmail on Android and iOS, making it even easier to do more from one place.

The Chat room collaboration features will be further enhanced by being able to add shared files and tasks, making rooms an even better solution for longer-term projects. 

Plus, Chat will also let users create rooms that include people outside the company, so your group can work with any outside partners much more efficiently.

To take Chat rooms one step further, Google is introducing a new collaboration feature in them – meaning you’ll be able to open and co-edit a document with the user’s team without leaving Gmail. There are also plans to expand Gmail’s search capability to include Chat, so it’s easier to find everything in one place.

Functionality changes

Google is introducing several tools to help you prioritize work and stay focused. This redesign will allow users to pin important rooms so they’re easier to find and access, set your availability to “Do Not Disturb”, and change your status notices.

Security changes

There will be a number of new security features for Meet and Chat, which will be particularly useful for people working from home during lockdown. These features will include:

  • Knocking controls: Once an attendee is ejected, they won't be able to attempt to join the same meeting again by knocking, unless the host re-invites them
  • Safety locks: Hosts will be able to decide which attendees can chat or present in the meeting

Google is also set to extend the phishing protections built within Gmail to Google Chat. So, if a user clicks on a link in Chat, it will be scanned in real-time and flagged if it’s found to contain malicious content. 

These changes will be available as an “early access preview” to G Suite customers this week, and will roll out to all G Suite (an administrator that manages the core set of Google apps) customers later this year.

“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. That's why today, we’re introducing a better home for work.” – Javier Soltero, Vice President & GM, G Suite

Essentially, the goal is to make sure everything connects together in a way that makes it easy for you to manage the flow of your work and get more done.

What Are Google’s Plans For The Future?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has rapidly developed its collaboration tools. Google has rebranded Hangouts Meet to Google Meet, added new features to Meet (and made it free for everyone), and converted Hangouts Chat for enterprise users to Google Chat. 

The result? Since the beginning to the pandemic, Meet has seen up to 2 million new users per day. But there is still more change to come. 

Javier Soltero, Vice President & GM, G Suite, explains “In the future, you’ll see our integrated workspace expand even further—with features like picture-in-picture video calls right in Gmail; the integration of Google Meet into our content tools like Docs, Sheets, and Slides; and more. Our goal is to provide an intelligent and seamless solution that gives everyone the ability to make a real impact, and the flexibility to work exactly where and how they want.”

While the new service is rolling out for G Suite subscribers, regular consumers are unlikely to see a full redesign before 2021 at the earliest. 

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Beth is a Writer for Tech.co. Having written on a variety of platforms over the years, she prides herself on an eclectic portfolio across multiple sites, and regularly covers articles on the latest environmental tech.

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