As Google continues to consolidate its various products, the company has announced a major update to Gmail for G Suite users that will bring several of its services under one roof.
The update, which leaked early, brings a new integrated workspace for G Suite users by making Google Chat, Meet, and Rooms all easily accessible within the Gmail app.
These will all appear as tabs along the bottom in the mobile app, and along the side of the screen vertically on the web app, and allows users to run multiple tasks without bouncing between windows.
The idea here is to turn the Gmail app into a comprehensive productivity tool, as Google fights off Microsoft Teams and Slack during a pandemic where demand for productivity tools are naturally high.
For example, when you’re in a room you’ll be able to open and co-edit documents with colleagues without switching screens. You’ll also be able to do things like forward a chat message to your inbox, or join a video call from a chat.
Handily, Google is also opening up access to select third-party apps within the workspace, and calls out Trello, DocuSign, and Salesforce as three examples.
It’s the next step in what has been an ongoing consolidation for Google. Last month, the company added Chat to Gmail for G Suite customers. In May, it began rolling Meet into Gmail in an effort to fend off Zoom.
Interestingly, Google doesn’t seem to be dwelling too much on the Gmail name, and instead refers to the project as a “new home for work in G Suite.” But Gmail is already a hugely popular app for the company, so putting all of the other tools under that one roof makes plenty of sense.
The announcement was made by Javier Soltero, who Google poached from Microsoft last year to head up G Suite, signaling more serious ambitions to take the fight to its rivals.
The update is being made available in an early preview this week, and will roll out widely to G Suite users later this year.