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Google announces major update to Smart Canvas, with new user interface

Google&039s Javier Soltero talking about Smart Canvas and other Workspace updates on stage at Google

Today, Google has announced new updates that are coming to Smart Canvas for users of Google Workspace (Previously G Suite), which was originally launched in 2021 to enable greater collaboration. These features have been touted as innovations to Smart Canvas, which includes a new user interface.

The first feature is custom building blocks which allow for reusable components for tasks to be created from the right click menu. This would then allow for lists, tables or more to be inserted with a simple right click selection similarly to pasting this information into the document.

Google Smart Canvas

Another new feature that has been announced is a new calendar invite template that makes it easy for a team to collaborate on an event invitation before it's even been sent. Calendar invitations can be drafted from within Google Docs by using the "calendar draft" option under building blocks, similar to the already existing email template, and this will be generally available in the coming weeks.

Google Smart Canvas

the next feature announcement is Variables which allows for workflows to be simplified by allowing for placeholders to be inserted into documents, effectively allowing for a document template to be generated, while reducing the time spent repeating the same task.

The last big feature upgrade, which has a whole section of the announcement dedicated to it, is the upgrades that have come to the Smart Chips feature which allows for users access rich, context-setting information directly from Sheets.

Firstly, Emoji voting chips allow for quick reactions similar to what is currently seen in messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Telegram. Users can use these to interact with collaborative documents by typing @-voting chip to insert any emoji into a document.

Google Smart Canvas

Third-party smart chip capabilities are also being added, allowing for partner applications to integrate with the platform such as Asana, ZenDesk and Miro, and these will also be generally available in the coming weeks.

Data extraction, allows for relevant cells with people chips to be right clicked and this gives a new option allowing for information to be quickly pulled into a sheet, which is also compatible with files and event chips.

Place smart chips allows for location information from Google Maps to be integrated into sheets, with these chips features such as tracking logistics or event planning become available, and new date shortcuts makes timeline management smoother and easier.

Google Smart Canvas

Finance smart chips allow Google Finance entities to be directly inserted into Google Sheets, by using the @-mention stocks, mutual funds and currencies can be integrated straight into your document.

The last upgrade to Smart Canvas comes with a simplified user interface at the top of documents, spreadsheets and slides, and grouping in the toolbar are being updated to allow for frequently used actions to be found quicker. Rulers and comments will be visually updated as well and the companion bar at the side of the canvas will be hidden, making more space for content. This will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

Google Smart Canvas

Drive is also getting a visual update with adjustments to menu options when multiple items are selected, making it easier to share, download and delete as necessary. Key actions will be visible in-line when you hover over a file such as share, download and edit. Search chips will be added as well allowing for filters to be enabled for file type, owner, and last modified date.

Google Smart Canvas

In conclusion, lots of these features are targeted at making the platform much more streamlined and usable, speeding up workflows and making frequently used options more easily accessible.

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