Gmail redesign makes work-from-home unification a reality

Google revealed a big unification redesign for Gmail and services like Google Docs, Chat, and Meet calling, making the future of work a top priority. This redesign was revealed during the Google Cloud "Cloud Next '20 OnAir" streamed event, before the fact, in the "Productivity & Collaboration" category. This system looks like it'll target the present and near future of work as "your new home for work – right in Gmail."

This update to Gmail pushes Mail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet (and other services) together into one UI. The mobile app system shows all four communication systems in a single app – with a single row of buttons at its base for easy switching.

Much like Gmail's already in-place system of "nudging" and "elevating" elements it finds important, this new Gmail will prioritize rooms, nudges for neglected chats, "and more." This system will allow users to open Google Docs files in the Gmail web app, view shared Files, see Tasks, and work on documents while communicating with chat or video, all at the same time.

This major update to Google's collection of work collaboration tools includes Google Meet upgrades. In the mix are features like Q&A, "hand raising", attendance keeping, and custom backgrounds for video chat. This next update will include Meet on Nest Hub Max, Breakout rooms, and digital whiteboarding, too.

With the next Meet update, users will be able to collaborate with a digital whiteboard that integrates Jam and Meet! This is just a sampling of what we're expecting Google will do with their wide variety of communications systems, finally bringing the lot together in a relatively simple-to-use system for all manner of digitally-connected users.

In essence, this is Google's big move for capitalizing on the current state of work during a global pandemic. Remote work, work-from-home, and social distancing in general may be the way we live for the foreseeable future – and Google appears to be ready to roll with a Unified Communications App for work, very, very soon.