Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Google I/O 2022: Big features coming to Google Workspace

As usual, Google I/O didn’t disappoint. The company announced a whole host of new devices, including the Google Pixel 7 smartphones and the Pixel Watch. And for productivity, it has prepared a plethora of improvements to its Workspace tools.

Don’t have time? Watch the keynote in under 12 minutes

Automated summaries for Docs and Spaces

Google Docs will soon receive the nifty capability of being able to summarize a document using Google’s AI magic. Eventually, this feature will also come to Spaces, where it will pick out the most pertinent information from a conversation and assemble it into a digest, helping those who missed the meeting to quickly catch up at a glance.

Detail is scarce around this new feature. Google did not say whether it has a document length restriction or how it will handle more technical documents.

Increasing visibility in Google Meet

Google Meet video calls will now look better thanks to Portrait Restore and Portrait Light, which use AI and machine learning to improve picture quality and lighting on video calls. These features ameliorate some of the shortcomings of a poor connection and low lighting to ensure that everyone can be seen. The processing happens in the cloud to avoid impacting the device’s battery life and requires no action from the user. The user can even adjust the virtual light’s position to brighten up parts of their face, similar to how they can in Google’s mobile camera app. Additionally, Google Meet will also get automated meeting transcription.

De-reverberation

Sound is an important part of a meeting, and echoes can ruin a meeting experience for others when a participant uses speakers. For situations where headphones are not in use, Google is introducing De-reverberation to combat echoes in spaces with hard surfaces.

Play games and listen to music together with Live Sharing

Live sharing is coming to Google Meet, meaning users will be able to share controls and interact directly within the meeting. Google demonstrated its group interactivity through YouTube videos and playlists. To increase support for direct interaction through Live Sharing, Google is introducing the Google Meet Live Sharing API for developers. The API is currently in preview but has already been integrated into their apps by partners like YouTube, Heads Up! UNO! Mobile and Kahoot. In the future, Google hopes to enable co-watching and co-doing for activities like playing games or working out with others. Developers can apply for access through Google’s early access program.

Scaling out malware protection for Google Workspace

Building on its zero-trust software design approach, Google Workspace will receive more robust security features. In response to the growing trend of embedded malware in common office documents, Google will be scaling up phishing and malware protections for Gmail to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Soon, these apps will warn the user and guide them to safety if they detect a malware or phishing link embedded in a file the user is about to access.

The company also noted that Gmail now blocks more than 99.9 per cent of spam and phishing messages thanks to its intelligent security system that learns from each attempted attack.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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