Google first launched Google Docs and Google Sheets 15 years ago, as part of Google Workspace. Google has announced some improvements to Google Workspace, including Smart Canvas, which will help “build the future of work.”
What is Smart Canvas?
Google’s Smart Canvas is the next big step in the Google Workspace area. The improvements will enhance the usability of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and make it easier for you to collaborate with people across files and meetings within Google Workspace.
Smart Canvas Features
As per Google, the new features will start rolling out this month and keep rolling out through the end of the year.
You can already tag or at-mention (@-mention) other people in documents, which uses a smart chip to show you a brief bit of additional information about a person like their job title, location, and contact information. Now, with this update, new smart chips can be inserted into your work and used to see a list of recommended people, files, and meetings.
From either mobile or desktop, collaborators can skim these associated links, people, or files without having to change apps, tabs, or contexts. The feature is available now in Docs, and Sheets sometime in the next few months.
Team Connection Features
Google has added a few features that make it easier for remote and far-spread teams to collaborate on important documents at the same time. You’ll be able to create a to-do checklist of tasks in Docs, and assign individual items to other people then see a list of action items in Google Tasks.
You’ll also be able to gauge the reaction of your team members on things while you work together, thanks to new emoji reactions in Docs. Additionally, new table templates will be coming to Docs soon. The topic-voting template will allow your team to vote on topics and gather feedback, and the project-tracker tables make it easy to note project milestones and statuses in real time.
Smarter meeting notes templates can automatically import all kinds of relevant information from a Calendar invite, like smart chips for meeting members and attached files.
New Sheets Features
This update will allow you to switch between views in Sheets, making it easier to interact with and manage your data. There will be a timeline view, ideal for tracking tasks efficiently. It’ll let you organize or sort this data by category, owner, campaign, or other attributes and is a great way to help manage marketing campaigns, schedules, cross-team collaborations and more.
Sheets will also get additional assisted analysis functionality on the web. Better formula suggestions will make it easier to find and study insights from your data. Likewise, Sheets intelligence will assist you in building and troubleshooting formulas, so you’re not stuck searching for help elsewhere when something isn’t working. This will help speed up data analysis and reduce errors overall.
Meet in your Doc, Sheet, or Slide
If you’ve ever been working on a document remotely and wished you had a few coworkers there with you to give you feedback or help you work on it? Google just solved that. You can now present your content in a Google Meet call directly from your Doc, Sheet, or Slide and discuss it in real time without missing a beat or losing focus. It’s the next best thing to meeting in person.
Google also introduced live captions and translations for Google Meet videos. It’s currently available in five languages—starting with English-language live captions translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, or German—with additional languages coming soon.
Remote teams can also jump from a discussion in Google Chat directly to working on content together without skipping a beat. Now you can create an edit Sheets and Docs directly in Google Chat rooms, and you’ll be able to do so with Slides in the coming weeks.
Google also introduced a few other smaller features worth noting. With Pageless Docs, you can remove boundaries of a page, allowing it to expand to the size of the device or screen you are currently using. This makes it easier to manipulate big images or wide tables. Want to convert to PDF? Just switch back to the paginated view.
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The assisted writing features will offer more inclusive language recommendations. This will proffer suggestions like “chairperson” instead of “chairman,” or “mail carrier” instead of “mailman,” and so on to better represent people of all gender identities. It will also offer stylistic suggestions, of course, to help you write more professionally and efficiently.