Google’s had a busy year. The search engine giant has spent the last 12 months consistently rolling out improvements to the Google Workspace ecosystem. Tweaks to existing apps, updated interfaces, and brand new features - every month brought new surprises.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of our favorites, covering the most impactful changes of the last year. Not all of them made the headlines, but they all delivered a more streamlined, effective, and productive Google experience for Workspace users. 

1) Easier editing

docs email updates - UpCurve Cloud

In November, Google rolled out a small tweak that made a big difference to Workspace editors.

Allowing users greater control over their notifications, Google Docs introduced customized editing alerts so Workspace users could get an email alert every time a specific document was edited. 

Editors can now see from their inbox when a document is altered - getting immediate insight into what changes were made, when they were made, and who made them. This was a game changer for busy content creators, saving them time, making sure they don’t miss anything, and giving a clear window into content workflows.

2) Stronger security defenses

The rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape had us all worried in 2022, but Google users were reassured when the cloud-based platform introduced new security tools that further locked down the Google Workspace against hackers.

In August, Google launched a new ‘Verify it’s You’ alert that is triggered when Workspace users do anything unusual that mimics typical hacker activity like changing their password or name. When that happens, they’ll now be issued a prompt that asks them to identify themselves with Multi-Factor Authentication before they can complete the action.

Later in the year, Google continued to ramp up data protection by teaming up with Chronicle Security Operations to help teams detect, investigate, and respond to threats. 

3) Integration with Apple ID

Workflows got a lot easier for businesses that use both Google and Apple in 2022, as the two software giants merged to make access easier.

As part of a push to simplify cloud management, Apple users can now use their Managed Apple ID Credentials to sign into Google Workspace and vice versa. 

4) Copy and paste into Google Drive

copy paste update - UpCurve Cloud

As any regular Workspace user knows, Google Drives can get chaotic. With departments collaborating on files across the Drive, it operates as a complete archive of company content but with one small snag - there was no way to copy and paste files directly into Drive. 

Instead, users were forced to use the ‘Move to’ function and navigate through a drop-down menu to get the file where it needed to go.

In spring 2022, this frustrating efficiency hurdle was removed. Thanks to an update, Workspace users were now able to copy and paste files directly into their Drive - much like Microsoft 365’s cut-and-paste tool. You can now paste your file in any location in just a few clicks and using the standard keyboard shortcuts. 

And every time it’s copied over, Google creates a shortcut to the original rather than a new version, so you don’t accidentally duplicate your document or stretch your storage limit.

5) Streamlined storage

manage storage - UpCurve Cloud

Workspace admins got another helping hand in April with an update that gave them more control over shared Drives, dramatically simplifying storage.

Following the update, users can now enjoy greater visibility into their company’s content via an organization-wide storage summary usage report accessible from the central admin console.

They can also instantly see how much storage platforms are using to keep track of files in Gmail and elsewhere and note which employees and shared drives are the biggest storage guzzlers.

With this level of control and visibility, users can quickly delete overfilled drives, get alerts when drives are approaching their capacity limits, and warn employees if they’re letting their files pile up - making for a more streamlined and productive workplace overall.

6) Fuss-free formatting

multi selection tool - UpCurve Cloud

One of the most annoying hang-ups in Google Docs was finally fixed in 2022, allowing content creators to format multiple blocks of text in a single action.

Previously, users working in a Doc who wanted to italicize every headline would have to painstakingly crawl through the pages, finding each header, selecting it, hitting the italicize command, and so on. 

The days of headache-inducing, line-by-line formatting are thankfully now over. Launched in May, the Multiple Text Selection tool allows editors to select large blocks of text simultaneously. And not just for formatting - the tool can also be used to add a comment to multiple paragraphs, or move large blocks of content around the document.

7) New and improved Google Calendar

Google Calendar pending tasks - UpCurve Cloud

Workspace’s Calendar app was given an upgrade this year to make it not just a timeplanner but also a valuable task management tool. 

Recognizing that small projects and tasks aren’t always a good fit for project management platforms, Google tweaked Calendar so users can conveniently add their tasks for the day. 

Click anywhere on the Calendar, select ‘task’ from the pop-up menu and fill in the details. Google will do the rest - adding it to your planner so that you don’t miss a thing. Once created, tasks can be changed, given additional notes, moved, marked complete, or deleted to keep you hyper-organized. 

In February 2022, this function was further enhanced with a feature that lets users see and manage their overdue tasks - those uncompleted but due within the last 30 days. These overdue items are marked as ‘pending’ and appear as an all-day item at the top of the date field, you can see and edit them by clicking on ‘pending tasks’.

8) Smart chips and people chips

smart chips - UpCurve Cloud

Google extended its smart chips feature (also known as people chips) this year - allowing users to do more with the popular tagging tool.

Previously used within apps to tag people using the @ symbol, chips were a handy way of letting colleagues know that you needed their input in a file or drawing their attention to a piece of content.

Now they can do so much more. Every time you use the @ key in Docs, you’ll see a pop-menu that allows you to insert people, files, meeting notes, charts, dates, and more. Smart chips can also be used in Sheets and Slides, but with slightly less functionality, e.g you can only tag people in Sheets, not insert files.

With a constant focus on refining and improving the user experience, it’s easy to see why Google Workspace is the top choice for businesses working in the cloud. The company has more innovation in the pipeline for 2023 yet, focusing on the topics and features that matter to companies such as cybersecurity, data analytics, storage and other tools to help businesses become more productive. 

If you’re ready to make the most of your Workspace in 2023, let us know! UpCurve Cloud has an expert team of Google-certified technicians, engineers, and consultants who are highly experienced and proficient in all aspects of Workspace. We can help your organization integrate Google applications to your current IT infrastructure, get comfortable using new apps, or even seamlessly migrate your entire infrastructure to the Google Cloud Platform. Contact us today to arrange a consultation and get started!

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