Google is bringing its Google Meet calling capability to Gmail in an effort to help workers conduct one-on-one conversations in hybrid work environments.
Google Meet allows users to initiate a video or audio call between one or more participants. That capability has been added to Google Workspace, with Gmail the first conduit: Users will soon be able to call colleagues via the Gmail App.
“Our intention is to bring Meet calling to all the natural endpoints in Workspace where you’d initiate an ad-hoc call including chats, people cards, and spaces, but this will come first to one-to-one chats within the Gmail mobile app,” writes Sanaz Ahari, senior director of product management, in a blog post on Wednesday.
How will this work? “Soon I’ll be able to call members of my team directly from a one-to-one chat,” Ahari says. "This will ring their device running the Gmail mobile app and send a call chip to our chat on their laptop, so they can easily answer from any device. It’s not quite the same as a spontaneous hallway conversation, but it might be the next best thing in a hybrid setting.”
This has led observers to wonder what is next for Gmail, the most widely used email service on the globe.
Starting on Wednesday, Google is also rolling out “spaces,” its new central places for team collaboration.
Spaces are “tightly integrated with Google Workspace tools like Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and Tasks, providing a better way for people to engage in topic-based discussions, share knowledge and ideas, move projects forward and build communities and team culture,” Ahari writes.
Google will add streamlined navigation, discoverable spaces, enhanced search, in-line topic threading and security & admin features to spaces in the coming months.