Updates to Google Meet and Assistant make it easier to work from home

Google Meet Lifestyle 1
Google Meet Lifestyle 1 (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google announced updates to its Workspace plans today.
  • It's bringing Google Asisstant to Workspace accounts and lighting up new second-screen experiences for Meet.
  • Google also announced a new Workspace Frontline plan, aimed at essential workers.

Google today announced a slew of updates for its Google Workspace suite, rolling out changes to Assistant, an enhanced second-screen experience for Meet, and Workspace in general.

First, Google is enabling Assistant for Workspace accounts. Unlike users with personal accounts, Google Workspace accounts didn't automatically have support for Assistant. They couldn't have their calendars taken into account, nor could they call or email contacts. Google has notoriously limited consumer-facing features for those with Workspace accounts, so that was an expected, albeit disappointing limitation for would-be corporate Assistant users.

Google rolled out support for using Assistant with a paid workspace account in Beta, and now the company is bringing it to general users. If your company has enabled Assistant for your workspace account, you are now able to use Google's smart helper —primarily for your Gmail and Calendar because enterprises are serious business.

Here's what Assistant will be able to do when it rolls out, as per the Workspace team:

  • Let you know when your next meeting is
  • Create, cancel or reschedule a Calendar event
  • Send a note to event attendees via email
  • Dial into a meeting
  • Email a contact

Google is also extending support for smart speakers like the Nest Audio and Nest Mini, as well as smart displays like the Nest Hub Max.

Google Meet Second Screen

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

This update came as a package of features Google introduced today as part of something it called collaboration equity. The Google Assistant updates? Google's rolling it out to help users save time. It's coming alongside another set of features for the calendar that include "segmentable working hours, recurring out-of-office entries, and location indicators let employees share their availability and location with their colleagues." The second screen experience for Google Meet hardware? It's taking the dedicated hardware part out of participating in those intense video conferences. It's even bringing the tiled view to mobiles so you can do more with what you have and adding in support for the blurred backgrounds, Q&As, and polls it brought to the desktop last year.

Google's Javier Soltero explained the rationale behind these updates:

We've been experimenting with ways to bridge the gap between the in-person and the "somewhere else" by pushing our technology and the physical spaces of our campuses to be more inclusive. We're looking for ways to maximize participation everywhere we can—from personal desk space to conference rooms to group collaboration areas.

Alongside that, Google is also enhancing Workspace as a whole. It's enhancing its Workspace Essentials plan by adding Chat, Jamboard, and Calendar to it. It's also adding a Workspace Frontline package for essential workers, bringing "communication and collaboration apps like Gmail, Chat, Docs, Drive, and more, as well as business-grade support and security features like advanced endpoint management that help keep a company's data secure."

Michael Allison