September 25, 2023

Google announced that it is making Workspace, the service formerly known as G Suite available to everyone, including consumers on free Google accounts. The core thought of Workspace is to enable deeper collaboration between users. Integration between all google apps

For individual users who want more from their Workspace, there will also be a new paid offering, Google Workspace Individual subscription will be $9.99/month, with an introductory price of $7.99/month. This new paid offering will be available “soon” in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil and Japan.

Once enabled, users will encounter quite a few user interface changes. The left rail, for example, will look a little bit like the bottom bar of Gmail on iOS and Android now, with the ability to switch between Mail, Chat, Meet and Spaces . The right rail will continue to bring up various plugins and shortcuts to features like Google Calendar, Tasks and Keep.

New features for Rooms/Spaces include in-line topic threading, presence indicators, custom statuses, expressive reactions and a collapsible view, Google says. Both free and paid users will get access to these new Spaces once they launch later this year.

Google is also introducing a number of new Workspace features. Google Meet, is getting a companion mode that is meant to foster “collaboration equity in a hybrid world.” To give meeting participants who are in a physical meeting room and are interacting with remote participants a companion experience to use features like screen sharing, polls, in-meeting chat, hand raise and Q&A live captions on their personal devices. Every participant using the companion mode will also get their own video tile.

New RSVP option that will allow you to select whether you will participate remotely, in a meeting room (or not at all), as well as new moderation controls to allow hosts to prevent the use of in-meeting chat and to mute and unmute individual participants.

On the security side, Google also announced that it will allow users to bring their own encryption keys. Currently, Google encrypts your data, but it does manage the key for you. To strengthen your security, you may want to bring your own keys to the service, so Google has now partnered with providers like Flowcrypt, Futurex, Thales and Virtru to enable this. With Client-side encryption, customer data is indecipherable to Google, while users can continue to take advantage of Google’s native web-based collaboration, access content on mobile devices, and share encrypted files externally,

Google is also introducing trust rules for Drive to give admins control over how files can be shared within an organization and externally. And to protect from real phishing threats, Google is also now allowing admins to enable the same phishing protections it already offers today to content within an organization to help guard your data against insider threats.

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