With smart canvas, Google looks to better connect Workspace apps


Google is adding a range of “smart canvas” features to its Workspace productivity software suite, offering news ways to connect and share contextual information between apps such as Docs and Sheets.

Rather than introducing entirely new products, the Workspace smart canvas features are pitched as a “new product experience” that updates existing apps with improved collaboration functions.

“With smart canvas, we’re bringing the content and connections that transform collaboration into a richer, better experience in Google Workspace,” Erika Trautman, director for Google Workspace, said ahead of the Google I/O conference this week. “We’re enhancing the apps that hundreds of millions of people already use every day like Docs, Sheets, and Slides, to make them more flexible, interactive and intelligent.”

Among the new features, said Google, are interactive “building blocks” that automatically update information between applications and save users from regularly switching screens.

This includes the “smart chips” feature, available now within Google Docs. Just as it’s already possible to “@mention” a coworker in a document, smart chips let users insert additional information, such as a wider list of recommended people within their organization, as well as files and meeting information.

This means, for instance, using the Google Workspace People API to pull contact data from a contacts list or corporate directory into Docs, providing detailed information such as where a person is located, their title, and how to contact them to start a conversation.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.



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