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Google I/O 2021: Sundar Pichai announces Smart Canvas

Pageless Docs, Meet integration in Docs, Sheet and Slide and more.

Smart Canvas Smart Canvas
Smart Canvas (Google)

Google kicked off its annual developers’ conference, Google I/O 2021, with a musical performance featuring Tune Arts and Blob Opera with Google Arts & Culture. It was followed by a keynote address by Alphabet Inc CEO Sundar Pichai wherein he talked about the pandemic and the measures that the company had taken in the past year to help across the globe. At the event, which is being held virtually this year owing to the pandemic, Pichai also announced a tool called Smart Canvas in Google Workspaces.

Smart Canvas essentially fosters communication between various products by the company, in turn enabling users to collaborate seamlessly. To enable this flexibility, the company today announced a bunch of new features that will soon be available in its products.

Here are the top features coming to Google Workspaces:

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Smart Chips in Sheets

Firstly, Google is bringing new smart chips to Docs. As of now, when a user mentions a person in a document, a smart chip shows them additional information about the person. Now, the company is introducing new smart chips in Docs for recommended files and meetings. “To insert smart chips in your work, simply type "@" to see a list of recommended people, files and meetings. From web or mobile, your collaborators can then quickly skim associated meetings and people or preview linked documents, all without changing tabs or contexts,” Google wrote in a blog post. This feature will be coming to Sheets in the coming months.

Pageless Docs

The company also announced Google Docs in a new format. The company announced a new pageless format in Docs, that will enable users to remove the boundaries of a page in order to create a surface that adjusts itself as per the screen a user is using. This feature makes it easier for users to work with ‘wide tables, large images or detailed feedback in comments.’

Inclusive writing recommendations

Google said that now its assisted writing feature will offer more inclusive language recommendations when it makes sense. This includes suggesting ‘chairperson’ instead of ‘chairman’. It will also make other stylistic suggestions, like to avoid passive voice or offensive language all of which will help speed up your editing and writing skills.

Connected checklists in Docs

Google also announced new connected checklists in Docs. The company said that starting this week in Docs, checklists will be available on the web and on mobile. The company also said that soon users will be able to assign checklist items to other people and see these action items in Google Tasks.

Table templates in Docs

The company also announced that soon it will introduce table templates in Docs. It will allow users to easily gather team feedback while project-tracker tables among other things.

Meet integration in Docs, Sheet, Slide

Apart from the above-mentioned features, the company also announced Meet integration in Docs, Sheet and Slide. Google said that users can now present their content to a Google Meet call on the web directly from the Doc, Sheet, or Slide. “And in the fall, we’re bringing Meet directly to Docs, Sheets, and Slides on the web, so people can actually see and hear each other while they’re collaborating,” Google wrote in a blog post.

Live captions, translations in Google Meet

Google is also introducing live translations of captions. This feature will be available later this year, starting with English-language live captions translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, or German.

Timeline view in Sheets

The company today announced a new timeline view in Sheets that will allow users to organise their data by owner, category, campaign, or any other attribute. Users will also be able to toggle between the timeline view and the regular view in Sheets.

Create, edit Sheets, Docs and Slides from Google Chat rooms

Google also announced that now teams will be able to jump from a discussion in Google Chat directly to building content together. It will be available in Slides in the coming weeks.

Other features

In addition to the above-mentioned features, the company said that now users will be able to use emoji reactions in Docs. This feature will be available in the coming few months. Lastly, the company announced that now Docs will automatically import any relevant information from a Calendar meeting invite, including smart chips for attendees and attached files.

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