Google's Smart Canvas brings Meet calls into your spreadsheets later this year

Google Workspaces Keynote Screenshot
Google Workspaces Keynote Screenshot (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google Workspaces has had to make major improvements during the pandemic.
  • At Google I/O 2021, Google unveiled a score of new improvements for Workspace users — and the news that Google Workspaces will soon be available to all users, not just enterprise and education users.

Today at Google I/O's keynote, Sundar Pichai was quick to highlight the changes that we've all had to make to our work and our workloads over the last year, as millions turned to the best Chromebooks for a flexible workhorse when we weren't working on our phones anywhere and everywhere around the house. Google Workspaces has been an invaluable asset, and with today's new features, it's getting even better. Here's all the new features coming to a workspace near you.

Smart canvas

Smart Canvas Workspace Hero.max 1000x

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets are some of the oldest and most widely-used portions of the Google Drive/Google Workspaces suite, but they've used pretty much the same static layout for over a decade. Now that we're working in new and more collaborative ways online, Smart canvas allows these three services to adapt to the ways we're meeting, collaborating, and working across time zones and across countries.

You'll be able to tag people in a document with a @ symbol, just as you would on social media or most group messaging platforms. You'll also be able to tag meetings and other files the same way.

Google Sheets is getting timeline views and more analysis functions to help make it easier to keep your computations inside Sheets and keep your project timetables easier to understand.

Better integration with Googe Meet and Chat

You'll be able to hold Google Meet calls directly inside Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, with a Google Meet icon being permanently added to the interface right next to the Share button. Google Meet is also getting live captions and translations into Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.

For Google Chat users, you'll be able to make and alter Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides documents directly from Google Chat rooms as part of Smart canvas, too.

Google Docs is getting some upgrades

Google Docs is where most of my work gets done, and I'm sure yours does, too, and it's getting some small but significant tweaks here as part of Smart canvas:

  • Table templates will make it easier for you to add in tables for feedback, organization, and project management.
  • Connected checklists will tie Google Docs to Google Tasks checklists so that your major project gets checked off as you inch closer to your goals. I wish it integrated with Google Keep instead, but c'est la vie.
  • Smart compose's language recommendations and assisted writing features are getting more inclusive and better at recognizing style.
  • Leave emoji reactions in Docs when your colleague asks you for feedback on an idea that leaves your mind blown. 🤯🤯

Oh yeah, I forgot the big one: Google Docs is finally getting a pageless format option so that your document can adapt to your window rather than forcing you to keep Docs full screen to see everything!! And yes, that deserves two exclamation points because that's amazing for split-screeners like me.

Docs Pageless Format

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

All of these changes will be rolling out to Google Workspaces over the coming weeks, and Google Workspaces itself will become available to all users, another welcome upgrade.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.