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Weekly Update - June 19, 2021: Google Workspace, Meet, Chat

June is hot and buzzing, and there is a lot to celebrate this weekend. Today is Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States and a brand new Federal holiday. Sunday is Father’s day, honoring dads everywhere.

But just as we are heading into peak summer, Google is updating it’s work tools. Their “future of work” is designed to help remote workers connect with their in-office colleagues.
  • Google Workspace is now for everyone. If you have a free personal Google account you can now use Google Chat, along with Meet, Calendar, Gmail, Docs and other integrated apps. There will also soon be a new Google Workspace Individual paid subscription with more features. Unlike other Google Workspace education and business accounts, you will be able to sign up with your Google account.
  • Google Meet is getting new features designed for hybrid work situations, where part of the team may be in the office and the rest in remote locations. The new Companion Mode gives all meeting participants access to screen sharing, polls, in-meeting chat, live captions and other interactive features, even if they are participating from a conference room. And Google Calendar Events will let people indicate whether they will be joining from the office or remotely. The new features will be available on the web and the “upcoming progressive web app” in September and “soon” on mobile devices.
  • Google Chat Rooms are becoming Spaces. Currently Chat includes one-to-one and group “chats” and more full-featured Rooms. “Rooms” are becoming “Spaces” which will be integrated with Google Calendar, Drive, Tasks and more. New features will include message pinning, user roles and moderation tools, collapsible view and “discoverable spaces”. It’s designed for teams to work together, organizing projects, and moderated discussions.
  • Tables, an experimental workflow management tool from Google’s Area 120 is making it to the big leagues and become part of Google Cloud. It will remain in beta for the coming months, and you can continue to use it for free if you are in the United States.
Plus updates for web creators, YouTubers, audio live streaming and more.



Web Creators

Social Media

  • Facebook has partnered with music distributors DistroKid and TuneCore to let independent musicians and bands sign up for the new Independent Artist Program.This adds their music to Facebook’s audio library that can be used to create Stories and Instagram Reels.
  • Facebook Gaming launched Fan Groups for partners. It has a dedicated “Looking for Player” post type to find other gamers to play with, and they may recommend a streamer’s group to viewers after a stream ends.

Podcasts and Audio

Messaging and Meetings

  • Google Meet has added a number of improvements to the Hand Raise feature, including a clickable notification that links to a list of all participants with raised hands. Also new: an animated visual icon, participants with their hand raised may have their video tiles more visible, an audible notification when the first hand is raised, and a participant’s hand will be automatically lowered after they speak. The Hand Raise option is available in most meetings hosted by Google Workspace users.
  • Google Meet’s automated noise reduction is now available to more Google Workspace customers.
  • Android Messages will let you star individual messages to make them easy to find agan.
Google shows you how to add dialogs and slash commands to your Google Workspace Chat bots.


Image: Sunset photo by Bradley Hook from Pexels


  1. I thought VidCon was a YouTube event. I guess I thought that since YouTube used to be the major player there.


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