3/27/23 Google Workspace Roundup: Updates that Matter Most

Two team members discussing work on a laptop

The Google Workspace development team has been hard at work enhancing the product suite, giving Admins and end users alike an even more secure and intuitive experience. Read on to learn about the latest developments to the Admin console, Google Sheets, Docs and more!


New smart chips features for Sheets

Google is continuing to innovate its core apps with an expansion of smart chips capabilities. These expansions include the following.

  • Place chips: When you add a Google Maps place chip to your Sheet, you can open the location in Maps, see a location preview, and obtain directions.
  • Date chips: Shortcuts have been added to date chips—easily add a date within Sheets by typing @today, @yesterday, @tomorrow, or @date.
  • Finance chips: Add Google Finance entities (such as stocks, currencies, and mutual funds) to your next Google sheet by typing @ followed by the symbol. For example, try @GOOGL.
  • Stopwatch chips: Insert a stopwatch

You can also insert a smart chip by selecting a cell in your sheet and clicking Insert > Smart chips.

Rollout for this feature to all Google Workspace and G Suite accounts is currently in progress and will conclude at the end of March 2023.


Client-side encryption for Gmail

Previously in beta, client-side encryption for Gmail is now available to all Google Workspace Enterprise Plus and Education customers!

By default, Gmail encrypts data at rest and in transit via  secure-by-design cryptographic libraries. Client-side encryption takes this to the next level by giving you sole control over your encryption keys.

This feature is off by default and can be enabled at the domain, OU, or Group levels by navigating to Admin console > Security > Access and data control > Client-side encryption.

For even higher security standards, we offer Virtru for full end-to-end Gmail encryption. Feel free to reach out for more information.


Granular Google Voice availability options

You are likely aware of availability statuses in Gmail (Active, Do not disturb, Away, and Idle). We are glad to share that Google has released a similar option for Voice! In Voice on web and mobile, you can now manage your Ring Group availability with granular options.

Try customizing your availability for:

  • All calls
  • Direct calls
  • Calls from specific ring groups

Rollout of this feature to all Voice Standard and Premier customers is complete. See this article for information on how to get started with this feature.


Add Google Keep notes to your Android device home screen

Do you rely on Google Keep for managing notes and lists such as workflows, task lists, and recipes? Good news: Android users can now pin Keep notes to their device home screen for easy access. After doing so, you can access and edit your notes in the Keep app with a single tap.

For instructions on how to pin Keep notes to your home screen, see this article.


Refreshed interface for Drive

Have you noticed the new look and feel of some core Google products? In an effort to streamline core collaboration activities, Google has revised the interface of Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides! In addition to stylistic changes, you will notice improvements to tool locations and key workflows.

Rollout of the new interface changes is in progress and will conclude by the end of March 2023. It will impact all Google Workspace and G Suite users, including those with personal accounts.


Requirement for managed Android devices

An important announcement to those managing Android devices via the Admin console: Users must upgrade to the Android Device Policy. This is the new Android management client which replaces the legacy Google Apps Device Policy client.

Any devices managed via the legacy client will lose access by the end of March 2023 if they are not upgraded. For instructions to help users migrate to the new client, see this support article.


In-line threading now default for Google Chat Spaces

Google previously released in-line threading for Chat which makes Spaces easier to navigate with topic-based threads. As of March 13, 2023, all newly-created Chat Spaces will feature in-line threading for an improved user experience.

Existing Chat Spaces will not be impacted until later this year, when existing spaces organized by conversation topic will be automatically migrated to in-line threading. The date of this change has not yet been announced.


Organization-wide meeting backgrounds

Admins can now set custom Google Meet backgrounds for the entire organization! Use this feature to deploy on-brand, neutral, or even fun backgrounds to your users. Once enabled, users can access and use them in the same place they access default Meet backgrounds during meetings (More options > Apply visual effects > Backgrounds).

This feature is now available with all paid Google Workspace/G Suite editions. To add backgrounds for your users, follow the instructions in this article under “Set up custom images.”


Client-side encryption update for Google Docs

To provide more adaptability and control over document security, Admins and end users will now be able to add or remove client-side encryption for existing documents. This feature will be available to all Workspace editions that include client-side encryption (Enterprise Plus, Education Standard, and Enterprise Plus) by the end of April 2023.

For Admins, client-side encryption may be enabled at the domain, OU, or Group level by navigating to Admin console > Security > Access and data control > Client-side encryption. End users whose organization has client-side encryption enabled can add or remove client-side encryption for their Doc by opening it and selecting File > Make a copy > Add/Remove additional encryption.


New beta for monitoring working locations with the Calendar API

Google has announced a new beta that allows Admins to view and manage working locations for their users. Available through the Developer Preview Program, this API is intended to help organizations analyze the volume of end users at physical campuses so they can adapt on-site resources as needed. The beta is available to all Google Workspace editions except Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Enterprise Essentials, Frontline, and G Suite Basic.

Developers can gain access to this beta by applying to join the Developer Preview Program. For additional information about the feature, see this article.


Two team members discussing work on a laptopQuestions?

Have questions about any of these updates? As your trusted Google Cloud Premier Partner, we’re ready to support you with any and all things Google Workspace. Submit your contact information to the form below and we’ll be in touch!