Google is all set to update the Gmail app with the ability to directly call someone who also has the Gmail app. The update is part of an even larger update to Workspace that Google announced today.
Google says that the feature will enable spontaneous connections with colleagues that you otherwise would make by casually bumping in the hallway or a break room, back in the pre-pandemic days.
Google Meet calling is a seamless experience of initiating a video or audio call between one or more participants, complementing more structured, scheduled video meetings. 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.
Once the feature is rolled out, users will be able to call their Workspace colleagues directly from the Gmail app. Doing this will ring their colleague's device, presuming that they already have the Gmail app installed. It might not seem quite the same as a spontaneous hallway conversation, but it is definitely a great way of learning about topics that might not come up in structured meetings.
Google also added a bunch of other updates in Workspace. It introduced "Spaces" which is an expanded version of Rooms. Instead of starting an email chain or scheduling a meeting, teams can come together and collaborate in Spaces to move projects and talk about topics. Google is also streamlining the user interface of Gmail for easy access of inbox, chats, spaces and meetings, all from a single location.
The company also unveiled two new all-in-one video conferencing devices. The One Desk 27 is a 27-inch device that is perfect for small shared spaces while the One Board 65 is a 65-inch 4K device that turns any room or space into a video collaboration hub.
With all these updates, Google is turning Gmail into a complete tool for collaboration, similar to what Microsoft has been doing with Outlook all these years. However, this makes dedicated apps like Google Meet seem obsolete. Whichever might be the case, Google has been putting a lot of work into Gmail in recent years which is great news for both companies and consumers.