In October, G Suite became Workspace and last month rolled out to education customers. A new “Workspace Frontline” tier is coming as Google lays out how it wants to help users adapt to the new hybrid working environment.

The new Google Workspace tier is meant to give frontline workers “access to the same collaboration and communication tools that keep knowledge workers informed and connected.” According to Google, this includes nurses, grocery store associates, and warehouse employees.

This will open up communication and collaboration channels between frontline workers and corporate teams in a way that’s safe and secure. Workspace Frontline is a custom solution that includes communication and collaboration apps like Gmail, Chat, Docs, Drive, and more, as well as business-grade support and security features like advanced endpoint management that help keep a company’s data secure.

It will be available in the coming weeks. Another tier change sees Chat, Jamboard, and Calendar come to the entry-level Workspace Essentials offering.

Google today laid out how it wants Workspace to “help us achieve better work-life balance and make the best use of our time” in light of new hybrid schedules.

We’re especially interested in what we call collaboration equity, or the ability to contribute equally, regardless of whether you’re sitting in the same room as your colleagues or hemispheres apart

Just last week, Google announced the ability to set split working hours, as well as recurring out-of-office events, in Calendar. Building on that is a new “Focus Time” event type to limit notifications during periods of concentration. “Time Insights” will show employees how much of their schedule is devoted to meetings and an average breakdown of how days are spent (Focus time, 1:1, 3 or more guests, OOO). These stats will only be available to individuals and not viewable by managers/employers. 

Lastly, new Workspace location indicators will soon let employees specify when they’re working at home or in the office, with this availability information surfaced throughout Gmail, Calendar, Chat, and Meet.

Meanwhile, Google Assistant for Workspace is now “generally available” to use voice to send messages, check work calendars, and join meetings. 

Google Assistant is currently available for Google Workspace on supported mobile devices and is in beta for smart speakers and Smart Displays, like Nest Hub Max. Google Workspace customers can learn how to enable this feature for their users here

On the collaboration front, Google is improving the video meeting experience on mobile devices, as well as creating second-screen experiences to allow calling on any combination of screens. This includes an Android and iOS tiled view to see multiple people on a portrait screen, while split-screen and picture-in-picture support is coming for Meet in Gmail.

Following desktop, the mobile apps will also support background replacement, while being able to participate in Q&A and polls. Those features will also be available to more languages (Spanish, German, Portuguese, and French). 

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: