6/15/21 Google Workspace Roundup: Updates that Matter Most

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We have much to share with you about recent updates to Google Workspace! From handy user-side features to key security-enhancing releases, these updates are ones you won’t want to miss.


Understand when your meeting codes expire

To ensure a smooth meeting experience, the Google Workspace (previously G Suite) team is making it easier to tell when your Google Meet code will expire in case you wish to use one code for multiple meetings. In most cases, Meet codes expire one year after its last use, but some codes instead expire instantly once the meeting ends. For information on these expiration policies, see this article.


New iOS Data Protection

A new Google Workspace admin feature has been released. This feature allows admins to prevent users from sharing files with or saving files to their personal Google account. Off by default, this security measure can easily be enabled within the Admin console at the OU (organizational unit) or domain level (see below).



Restrict Google Drive access to company-owned devices

Previously available in beta, a new security feature is now generally available: Workspace admins can restrict the use of Google Drive for desktop to company-owned devices. When applied, users logged in on personal desktop computers will automatically be locked out of those devices. This is off by default and can be applied to specific OUs or to the entire domain.


Place images above and behind text in Docs

A highly-requested feature has been added to Google Docs, allowing users to position an image in front of and behind text in their Doc. This will also apply to Microsoft 365 interoperability, allowing formatting to be preserved when importing and exporting Word documents. To use this feature, simply insert an image into your Google Doc, click the image, and select “Behind text” or “In front of text” from the menu that appears on the right.



Customize colors in Drive

Color-coders rejoice! You can now customize the colors of folders and shortcuts in Google Drive. This can help you visually organize your files by assigning colors to folders, perhaps based on their date, topic, importance, or whatever else is helpful to you. To do so, simply right-click on a folder or shortcut within your Drive, hover over “Change color,” and choose the color you’d like to use.


Background replacement features in Meet

Two new options have been added for background replacement in Google Meet! Firstly, you can now replace your background with a video. Currently, you can choose from three Google-made videos: a classroom, a party, and a forest. More video backgrounds will be released soon. Please note that this feature requires Chrome version M87+ (released November 2020) or newer.

Additionally, Android users can now replace their Meet backgrounds with static images provided by Google on mobile. Just as users can blur or replace their background when using Meet on desktop, the same is now possible for Android mobile users. Background images can be added or changed before or during meetings, and admin controls can be put in place to disable this feature if desired.


New Chat experience

Google just announced plans to evolve the Chat Rooms experience into Spaces. In this updated experience, you can expect to see the following features:

  • In-line topic threading 
  • Presence indicators 
  • Assigned tasks 
  • Expressive reactions, custom statuses using emojis, and GIFs 
  • Content search across Spaces 
  • Message pinning 
  • User roles and moderation tools 
  • Discoverable spaces
  • Create and share docs 
  • Side-by-side discuss and edit 
  • See status from calendar 
  • Run interactive polls 
  • Integrate workflows directly with Bots


This new experience will be released later in 2021. Stay tuned for updates about this release.


New betas

Three new Google Workspace betas are now active! The first is trust rules for Google Drive, a feature that allows admins to fine-tune the rules for with whom users can collaborate in Drive. This can include/exclude users both inside or outside of the organization. Another feature in beta is Drive labels. This allows for enhanced content classification and DLP within Drive, and is set to be especially useful for organizations that regularly handle sensitive data. Finally, Workspace Client-side encryption will be available for Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, with support for all file types in Drive including Office files, PDFs, and more. To learn more and for information about participating in any of these betas, contact us.


We hope these updates have been helpful! As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us using our contact form if you have any questions. We’re proud to be your trusted Google Cloud Premier Partner.