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Product Announcements

New experiences in smart canvas deliver more flow, less work

February 23, 2023
Vishnu Sivaji

Director, Product Management, Google Workspace

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Today, work is more fluid and dynamic than ever. It happens in conference rooms and living rooms, across time zones and devices. To thrive, users need tools that are as agile as they are. We designed smart canvas to bring people and data into a single workflow that’s purposeful and action-oriented with easy-to-use prompts in the Workspace experience. With smart canvas, an AI-powered summary in a Doc, a smart formula suggestion in a Sheet, or a simple @-mention can save teams hours of work by keeping them focused and collaborating in the documents where they’re already working. Today, we’re excited to share more about the innovations in smart canvas—and a refreshed user interface—that collapse the boundaries between apps and streamline the flow of work.

Keeping you and your team in the flow of your work

There are common tasks that most organizations have to navigate, such as planning events, coordinating team invites, kicking off new projects, or designing product launch checklists. We're excited to start rolling out several smart canvas capabilities we previewed at NEXT, plus we're introducing some new ones that will turn your documents into a springboard for action.

Custom building blocks let you build your own reusable components for common tasks and access them from the @-menu. For example, you might create a project kickoff template to track milestones and tasks, a product launch checklist, or even a block of code or text that’s commonly used within your organization. Custom building blocks will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Save your own reusable components like a project kickoff template with custom building blocks.

Our new calendar invite template makes it easy to collaborate with your team on an event invite before it’s sent. You’ll now have the ability to draft calendar invites in Docs by accessing the “calendar draft” under building blocks, similar to our email template. Calendar invite templates will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Collaborate on important calendar invites directly in Docs.

Variables simplify workflows for things like invoices, contracts, or broader communications, allowing you to pre-define and dynamically insert placeholders like “client name” or “return address”— all from a single, central document. Variables will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Save time on repetitive workflows by inserting placeholders in a central document with variables.

Emoji voting chips let teams express themselves and quickly get alignment in a Doc where they’re collaborating. Users can interact with emojis by typing @-voting chip to insert the emoji of their choice. Emoji voting chips will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Emoji voting chips help teams get consensus quickly.

We’re also delivering new third-party smart chip capabilities that provide access to even richer data across Workspace, pulling in interactive information and previews from partner applications, including Atlassian, Asana, Figma, Miro, Tableau, and Zendesk. Third-party smart chips capabilities will be generally available in the coming weeks. 

Pull rich data from partners like Tableau directly into Google Docs with third-party smart chips.

Making it easier to make data-driven decisions

Smart chips already help millions of users access rich, context-setting information directly from Sheets, and now we’re expanding the types of information and data you can pull in from across Workspace to drive your projects forward. These new capabilities turn any spreadsheet into a hub for action, with all the right people, places, events, and data in a single place.

Smart chip data extraction allows you to enrich Sheets with information about people, files, and events. For example, if you need key contact details for a project, you can right-click the relevant cells with people chips, select “data extraction” to quickly pull this information directly into your Sheet. Smart chip data extraction will be generally available in the coming weeks. 

Quickly enrich your Google Sheets with data from people, files and event chips with smart chip data extraction.

Place smart chips let you bring relevant locations into Sheets for streamlined management of project deliverables. You can easily preview a Google Maps link directly in Sheets for things like tracking logistics or event planning. And new date shortcuts—like @today, @yesterday, @tomorrow, and @date—make the management of timelines simpler. Both features are generally available today.

Insert place smart chips via the @-mention now in Sheets.

Finance smart chips let you insert Google Finance entities such as stocks, mutual funds, and currencies directly into Sheets by using the @-mention, followed by the company, stock ticker, or currency. Finance chips in Sheets are generally available today. 

Finance smart chips help pull in rich financial information by inserting Google Finance entities.

Delivering a simpler user experience

In addition to these new capabilities that help people collaborate and get more done, we’re delivering an enhanced user interface in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive to streamline the daily flow of work even more.  

First, we’re simplifying the user interface at the top of your documents, spreadsheets, and slides, and we’re updating groupings in the toolbar to help you find frequently used actions faster. We’re also visually updating rulers and comments, and hiding the companion bar at the side of the canvas to make more space for your content. These updates will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Simplified user interface in Docs helps you find frequently used actions faster.

Second, we’re enhancing Drive to help you complete your most frequent tasks more quickly. For example, we’re making it easier to share, download, and delete multiple files at once, and we’ll surface key actions (like share, download, and edit) in-line when you hover over a file. We’re also launching search chips that let you filter by criteria like file type, owner, and last modified date to help you find files faster. These updates will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Search chips let you filter by criteria to help you find files faster.

Helping you get more done

Often it’s the little changes in life that add up to a big impact over time. We believe these improvements in Workspace will help you and your team get more done in less time—through an intuitive set of capabilities in the apps you already use every day. Give them a try and let us know what you think at @GoogleWorkspace. 

To transform how your team gets things done, get started today with a free trial.

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