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Google unveils Workspace integrations, security features

Google wants to make it easier to do work within Workspace. Integrations with Jira, while AppSheet will reduce the need to click away from the productivity suite.

Google has introduced Jira and AppSheet integrations into its Workspace suite to make the collection of services more central to daily work.

The integrations, introduced at the Google Cloud Next conference on Tuesday, would let workers perform more tasks without leaving Workspace applications like Chat and Gmail.

Jira, an Atlassian issue-tracking and project-management program for developers, will integrate with Workspace chat applications Chat and Spaces. The integration will let workers create Jira tickets quickly and monitor problems from Google Chat.

During a Cloud Next session, Atlassian Chief Product Officer Joff Redfern said the integration extends his company's partnership with Google. The firm integrated its Trello list-making application with Gmail back in 2017.

"We believe in integrating Trello and Jira wherever work is," he said.

Google has also integrated its low-code development platform AppSheet with Gmail. AppSheet lets employees pull data from spreadsheets to create custom apps that automate specific processes. Through the integration, workers can use AppSheet apps in Gmail to approve budgets or vacation requests. The AppSheet integration is available now.

Bob O'Donnell, founder of Technalysis Research, said Google wants to minimize the time workers spend switching between applications by pulling multiple tasks into the unified whole of Workspace.

That trend started earlier this year, when the company introduced improvements to how Workspace applications work together to reduce the time spent moving between them. For example, an employee could start a Meet video meeting from within the word-processing application Docs.

Google also touted at the conference numerous Workspace security improvements:

  • Google Meet became the latest Workspace app to get client-side encryption. The feature, available in beta, gives customers control over encryption keys. Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides already have the capability.
  • Google added data loss prevention to Chat. The beta feature lets administrators control what workers can share both inside and outside the company.
  • Google added labels for Drive files to prevent employees from sharing sensitive data. Companies can use the tags to prevent workers from downloading, printing or sharing files externally. The labels are generally available.
  • A new feature in Docs will notify users if Google suspects a file they're opening contains malware. Google plans to add the improvement to Sheets and Slides soon.

Finally, Google announced that Citrix would launch a desktop-as-a-service offering on Google Cloud. The partnership will provide remote employees with access to their virtual desktops and applications.

O'Donnell said virtual desktops gained popularity during the COVID-driven shift to working at home. Through a partnership with Citrix, Google can accommodate companies that started using online desktops before the pandemic.

"The fact that Google's offering a Citrix-based Windows virtual desktop indicates that they're willing to reach [out] to those more traditional customers," he said.

Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily NewsWalpole TimesSharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.

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