C2C Talks: Top 20 Workspace Features in 2020, Predictions for 2021, and Hybrid Work Futures | C2C Community
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C2C Talks: Top 20 Workspace Features in 2020, Predictions for 2021, and Hybrid Work Futures

Categories: Google Workspace C2C Community Spotlight Google Cloud News Session Recording
C2C Talks: Top 20 Workspace Features in 2020, Predictions for 2021, and Hybrid Work Futures


It began as a LinkedIn post about the Top 20 Workspace features of 2020. The post and conversation got our attention and a bounty of other Workspacers, so we scheduled a C2C Talk to hash it out; after all, a top 20 list can only have 20 features. 


Here’s what you missed from @ChristianNewman of Rise Digital, a Google Cloud partner, and his C2C Talk on Top 20 Workspace Features of 2020, which he co-hosted with C2C members @Jesse Nowlin, @PaulRLees@chanelgreco, and Steve Larsen (@larsen161).  With Lees and Greco in Europe and Newman in Canada, the panel brought a global perspective to the conversation.


5 Key Themes Drove Workspace Success in 2020


Driven to help companies become more productive, Newman’s last project at Telus came 18 years from his first day, and it was to lead the transformation to G Suite/Workspace. As a result, Telus, which recently formed a strategic alliance with Google Cloud, became more agile and improved global collaboration and productivity from Vancouver to Manila.


“Simply put, they had this access to the same information at the same time as anyone else for the very first time in their careers,” Newman told a virtual crowd of 30 people. “And I thought that was something very special, and that the world needed a lot more, so here I am today, helping businesses do just that.”


So, here are his five themes based on his experience. 


First, Google’s efforts to make a smoother transition to Google Workspace were pivotal. 


Making the compatibility with Microsoft Office much more manageable by adding functionality to improve efficiency, like in-email communication, they thought about the end user each step. Hear Newman explain the other ways Google Cloud created a smoother transition. 



Second is the addition of AI and ML permeating the entire platform. For example, search chips in Gmail and a more intelligent Google Drive, even smart reply, Workspace focused on productivity and making the users’ lives easier. 

Third, the add-ons and integrations make Google Workspace extensible and allow this product to become central to all other tools and products customers rely upon each day, including educators. Hear Newman explain more and his favorites. 



Fourth, Google embraced the sudden pivot to remote work or school and created integrations with Google Meet. The ability to change the background, auto layout, and tiled view moved the experience forward. 


Finally, an integrated workspace brings it all together. 


“You can just focus on moving your work forward and getting things done so that you can do what you do better,” Newman said to an attentive crowd ready to share their points of view. 


Features for Me, and You 


Inclusivity was not just the theme socially but also within Workspace, and it’s a favorite of Chanel Greco, CEO of Saperis and creator behind YouTube videos about the fundamentals of Workspace for end users. 



Greco also added that she likes the polls feature as it makes the entire conversation more interactive; the panel and the attendees agreed. 


“At the end of the day, no matter what we're working on, it's all about people, right? People are at the center of everything that we do,” Newman said. “So, if we can find a way to bring them into the conversation and be able to learn more about them, then it's just going to make for a better end product, and they enable us all to do whatever we do better. And if technology and Google workspace can help us to do that, then I'm game for it.”


Some other ways Workspace is responding to their customers is through the Google contacts sidebar tool.


“Not only can I very quickly inside of my Gmail or other screens see details about the user and their contact information and things like that, but also the history or recent interactions that I've had with them through files and things like that, too,” Newman said. “I think that's been really helpful to me—this whole idea of integrating between the various apps of Google Workspace.”


And that’s just how Google intended its products to be used, according to Jesse Nowlin, a fixture in the C2C community and CIO at Westland Real Estate Group.


“I think that the unified Gmail interface is really just Google,” Nowlin said. “They are really leaning into the whole experience of living in Google, you use all their tools, and making it amazingly easy just to utilize all of that.”


Hybrid Work Futures 


But, this concept of meeting improvement raises a fascinating point. 


The Harvard Business Review ran a fascinating article around our working futures’ hybridity. This discussion raises an interesting question about how the future of work will look; primarily, we think about it through the lens of collaboration and productivity. 


If the meeting experience is improved through features like raising hands, polls, the infinite AI tools, or even the contact tool, what happens when we don’t use them anymore? 


How will we function in the future when we return to the office or a hybrid environment? 


How will we function in the future when we return to the office or a hybrid environment? 

Will they be as productive? Will the quieter team members speak up in an in-person setting? Will business move as well as it is now? We will have a great discussion exploring these questions and more in April with Kelly Ducourty from Google. Stay with C2C for more details as they become available.


What’s Next for Workspace? 


We started collecting your ideas in our post here, but the group also discussed what they think is on the functional road map and what they’re not certain Workspace will pull off in the next year. 


The main ask? To get the technology out of the way, so end users can focus on the work. So far, Workspace has responded by making it easier to access all its apps. One example is the Google File Stream for the desktop. 


“It will bring that and the other tools together, which they sort of worked around by installing another tool from Google called backup, and sync on the same machine,” Newman said. IT makes it so people can get access to what they want when they want.”


Nowlin shared improvements and future enhancements on Google Voice. See below.



Newman also predicts that Workspace will incorporate more AI and ML learnings, as he explains in the clip below. 



Fintan Murphy, CEO of Damson Cloud, a Google Cloud partner,  weighed in on the discussion, adding that Google needs to develop an employee engagement system to ascertain employee satisfaction and ensure social-emotional engagement as you would in a normal office setting. Check out his reasoning in the clip below. 



As the panel discussed, the chat was abuzz from attendees sharing their predictions and wants for Google Workspace. Check them out below. What do you have to add to the list? 


  1. Reporting and analytics

  2. Numbered headings in Google Docs for scientific articles 

  3. Custom fonts for Google Slides

  4. Improvements on assigning within Workspace apps 

  5. Focus on Google tasks, making it easier to stay organized

  6. Adding tabs to Google Chat that is similar to Microsoft Teams, such as Files

  7. Project management boards

  8. Improved cloud search 

  9. Mixing landscape/portrait in Google Docs

  10. Improve closed captioning on Google Meet when speakers have accents

  11. Calendering across Google Calendar and Outlook

  12. Automation of user management

  13. Public livestreaming on Meet

  14. Reminder app


Extra Credit


Resources shared through the talk are available below:

  1. Search 

  2. Meet Solution Engineering, a workaround for livestreams on Meet

  3. Cloud Search as a Custom Search Engine 

  4. Workspace Admins Shared Drive by Steve Larsen

Amazing summary of a fantastic discussion with input from Google Workspacers spanning continents, industries, time zones and use cases. 🎉 

Can’t wait to look back on this post and see how far we’ve come as we enter 2022!

Thank you @ChristianNewman :hugging:

This was quite a brainstorming session! And an awesome writing! @Content.Sabina beside the live stream of Meet meetings in public I predicted for 2021, would you start a 2022 prediction list?  To begin with Live captions & Translate native functionality in Meet.  In my demo tutorial I used live captions and Translate in Chrome but a built in functionality would be a magic! Thank you! 

We talked about that very topic in episode two of the Google Workspacers podcast, just released!

Awesome! I've listened to it @ChristianNewman and shall revisit with pleasure. There are so many Insights you have included!  The Chat improvements &AI look like the biggest change in workflows. Yet the revolutionary would be transcribe in Meet as you mention. Here's to the best Meet and The future of Conversation! I posted on another topic in the community but would love to have your feedback about this little experiment, so I repeat the link How to Understand Each Other while Talking in Native Languages


@Nina Trankova I’d love it if you’d leave a review if you’re enjoying the podcast.

I’ll go check out that topic you linked me to now.

Good idea, @Nina Trankova! I’ll get a post started on Monday!