Google opens up Workspace with lots of third-party integrations


As office workers continue to face a proliferation of SaaS applications, IT managers fear becoming locked into a single application or closed environment. By tackling the problem head-on, Google is on track to further close the gap between employees and their preferred work tools through the expansion of third-party integrations on its Workplace platform.

Ensuring apps from different vendors work well together is key to helping teams and organizations maximize hybrid working, and the new additions to the Workplace platform recently announced by Google were designed with this in mind.

New additions include the launch of third-party smart chips in Docs, as well as new integrations and improved API capabilities for Meet, Chat and Spaces, all of which aim to provide new ways to use third-party apps in or with Google Work space.

At its next conference call last week, Google said Meet had added nearly a dozen new features to facilitate what Google calls “immersive connections,” while new security updates see some Enterprise customers Plus and Education receive client-side encryption (CSE) in Gmail and Google Docs.

Discussing the announcements following the conference, Yulie Kwon Kim, vice president of product management at Google Workspace, said Google is committed to giving customers personalization in how they work with our tools.

“The openness of our platform brings work together in one place, allowing the people closest to it to really tailor it to their liking, and the workflows really transcend products,” Kim said. “So a simple workflow to accomplish your tasks can cover not only multiple workspace applications, but also tools from other vendors as well as in-house tools.

Smart chips improve application integration

One of the key new additions to the Workspace platform is the expansion of what Google calls smart bullets – embedded links that users can add in Google Docs by typing the @ symbol, part of the smart canvas concept. launched last year.

Smart Canvas was designed to streamline the way Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides work together. It gave Workspace users the ability to bring the people and information they needed into Docs through simple @-mentions, creating interactive mentions of people, files, meetings, and models.

Google has now extended its smart chip capabilities to its ecosystem partners, allowing users to add even richer data, more context and critical insights directly into their workflow. With these new third-party smart chips, customers will be able to tag and view important information from partner apps using @-mentions, and insert interactive information and previews from third-party apps directly into a Google Doc.

Kim said that by opening up the smart canvas to third-party apps and announcing new APIs, it would be easier for developers to create directly in Meet, Chat and Spaces.

“We’re already seeing a lot of momentum around how people customize their tools in Workspace. Today, there are over 5,200 public apps on our Marketplace and over 5 billion apps installed on Google Workspace,” she said.

A number of organizations have already confirmed that they are developing third-party smart chip integrations, including AO Docs, Atlassian, Asana, Figma, Miro, Tableau, and ZenDesk. These smart chips for third-party integrations will be available to customers in 2023.

Open ecosystem approach helps fight SaaS proliferation

Atlassian is one of the organizations creating smart bullets for its Jira and Confluence apps, allowing users to visualize key project plan details directly in a document.

Erika Trautman, Product Manager for Work Management at Atlassian, said Atlassian is investing in integrating Confluence and JIRA so users can access Atlassian products directly within Google’s products. These integrations will begin by making it easier to access JIRA statuses and Confluence pages in Google Docs, and are expected to go live early next year.

“We’re seeing users applying Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and smart links in Trello on a massive scale, so this kind of cross-product integration makes a lot of sense to us,” Trautman said. Trello, a subsidiary of Atlassian, makes a collaborative work management application of the same name.

Trautman added that with the proliferation of software tools that now exist in most organizations, it is incumbent on technology companies to help their customers minimize the disruption resulting from the constant need to switch context and make things easier. end users. access the tools they need while working.

“We need to meet people with the features they want, where they are and not insist that they go to different destinations,” Trautman said. “Find them where they are and provide the tools and integrations while helping the administrators of these large enterprises cope with the complexity of the multitude of applications their employees need, simplifying administration and making sure everything is secure.

Kim said that by opening up Google’s innovations to third-party partners, Google Workspace becomes a “connective tissue for all the best tools.”

Over 300 new features

Kim said to keep pace with change and meet changing customer needs, Google delivered 300 new collaboration-focused updates to customers this year alone.

Other updates announced by Google last week indicate that there are no plans to slow this down.

Google Meet has undergone what the company describes as a reinvention, expanding third-party features that users can access directly in Meet, alongside Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Google also announced two new developer tools, the Google Meet API and the Google Meet Companion SDK, both of which will allow users to link third-party apps to Google Meet.

Otherwise, Google has added a speaker spotlight in Slides; adaptive framing with AI-powered cameras from Huddly and Logitech; registration in the meeting room; mobile companion mode in Meet; the ability to assign conference rooms to breakout rooms in Meet; automatic video framing; automatic meeting transcripts; and the ability to control slides directly in Meet. Some of these additions are available in the coming month, while the majority will be available to customers from 2023.

Users will also have access to work reminders in Google Calendar and personalized emojis and chat in Google Chat starting this month, as well as chat-only spaces in Google Chat from from the beginning of 2023.

As for updated security measures, in addition to CSE, new Data Loss Prevention (DLP) features for Chat allow administrators to create custom policies to help prevent sensitive information from being leaked, while trust rules in Drive will allow more granular control of internal and external data. share. These features will all be available by the end of the year.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.


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