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Gmail just got a massive upgrade that might impact everything you do online

Published Jun 16th, 2021 12:13PM EDT
Gmail Features
Image: Kyodo/Newscom/The Mega Agency

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Google rebranded G Suite a few months ago, changing the web-based productivity suite’s name to Google Workspace. It was a smart move since it’s a name that’s a lot easier to understand. Aside from the rebrand, Google announced brand new Workspace features meant to make working from home even easier than it already was. Google made changes to the user interface and icon design, as well as ensuring that users could easily collaborate on various products. Moving back and forth between Google’s various productivity apps, sharing documents, and jumping on video calls with colleagues should all be even easier after the upgrade to Workplace, allowing users to increase their productivity while working at home and dealing with so many other challenges during the pandemic. But Workspace is a premium product that targets enterprise customers willing to pay a monthly subscription to access all these premium features.

Google changed all that earlier this week when it announced that all Gmail users will get free access to Google Workspace. That’s a massive update for all Google users. A single Google account is now enough to access some of the best features in Workspace and help regular users get more done from home.

Gmail users no longer need access to an enterprise or education Google account to access Workspace features. “Now, all of the company’s three billion-plus existing users across consumer, enterprise, and education have access to the full Google Workspace experience, including Gmail, Chat, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Meet and more,” Google explained in a blog post.

Google Chat
Demo of new Spaces feature in Google Chat. Image source: Google

Gmail users can all enjoy some of the features in Workspace to work together with friends and family members on all sorts of projects that can benefit from online collaboration. Google explained in the announcement that Google Chat is now available in Gmail, allowing users to connect directly from their inboxes.

The new experience also includes Spaces, an evolution of the previous Rooms feature in Google Chat that will allow people to organize “people, topics, and projects in Google Workspace.” Spaces will support features like “in-line topic threading, presence indicators, custom statuses, expressive reactions, and a collapsible view.” It’ll also integrate files and tasks so that users can collaborate on projects in virtual meetings. Internet users familiar with Slack will immediately understand what sort of experience Spaces aims to offer.

Google Chat
Planning a family reunion in Spaces. Image source: Google

While many Workspace features will be available free of charge to Gmail users, Google is also launching a new Workspace Individual subscription in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, and Japan. The subscription targets individual business owners and includes premium features like “smart booking services, professional video meetings, and personalized email marketing.” The subscription will cost $9.99 per month once it launches.

Google is also upgrading its Google Meet video calling service at the same time. Google Meet will support a Companion Mode, new Calendar RSVP options, new interactive features, and controls to manage video call sessions better.

Google Meet
Companion Mode in Google Meet. Image source: Google

Google Workspace is getting a few new security features as well, including client-side encryption, trust rules for sharing files via Drive, Drive labels, and enhanced phishing and malware protection. Some of these Workspace features will be available immediately to users, while others will roll out over the course of the next few months. More information about Google Workspace is available in Google’s blogs on the matter over here and here.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.