Google rolls out new Workspace app integrations, security features

Google’s Chat collaboration app now integrates with Atlassian’s Jira, while no-code platform AppSheet can be accessed directly from Gmail. The moves were unveiled ahead of the Google Cloud Next event.

google workspace

Google added new app integrations and security capabilities to its Workspace productivity suite on Tuesday ahead of its Cloud Next virtual event.

The Workspace Marketplace now has 5,300 third-party apps that users can integrate with the various Workspace tools, Google said. Among the newest is an integration between two of its collaboration tools, Chat and the recently rebranded Spaces (formerly Chat Rooms), and Jira, Atlassian’s popular work management app for software developers.

The bot integration lets Jira users create new tickets within the Chat and Spaces apps, as well as monitor issues and see Jira previews. 

The integration is evidence of Google’s efforts to let Workspace customers embed its apps into users' workflow. While Google has focused on connecting workflows between its own Workspace apps, it has also begun to address the need for users to move seamlessly between a wider variety of tools, said Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insight.

“Jira is an obvious place to start, because IT support teams are often the first to embrace chat platforms for productivity working and for more sophisticated use cases,” said Ashenden.

Another new integration connects Google’s email client, Gmail, and its no-code development platform, AppSheet. AppSheet, which was acquired in January 2020, lets users create simple, visual applications based on data in Workspace apps. The Gmail integration lets Workspace customers interact with AppSheet apps directly from their email inbox, making it easier for workers to input relevant data or approve requests without switching screens.

The AppSheet integration with Gmail is generally available now, Google said.

Security enhancements

Google also took steps to enhance security in Workspace. Data loss prevention for Workspace Chat, a feature often required in regulated industries to protect sensitive data, is now available in beta.

The addition of client-side encryption for certain Workspace apps in June — Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides — was extended to Google’s video meeting tool, Meet, available now in beta. This provides customers with control over encryption keys to help meet compliance requirements.

Other updates include the general availability of Google Drive labels, which let customers classify stored files based on sensitivity level; it integrates with Workspace DLP to manage the sharing and downloading of files, Google said.

“Security has always been a key aspect in G Suite, as it was before, but not a particularly well-promoted aspect of the platform,” said Ashenden. “There’s a clear effort to reinforce that and highlight the emphasis on security, whether that's around DLP or encryption.

“A lot of that is also about bringing Workspace, in its new form, up to the level of expectancy in terms of being enterprise-ready, having all of the pieces in place that are needed for a large-scale deployment,” she said.

Workspace — formerly G Suite — is being used by 3 billion people globally, Google said, mostly by users with unpaid accounts. (That number includes users accessing tools such as Gmail.) A free tier was added to the revamped Google Workspace, which includes apps such as Meet, Drive, Docs, and others, in June.

The latest data from Google on paid users pegged that number at 6 million business as of March 2020. (Rival Microsoft, which presents user stats for its Office 365 suite differently, said that it had 300 million “commercial paid seats” as of August.)

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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