5 New Updates to Get Excited About in Google Workspace

Nicole Mathew
Curriculum Specialist
Blog on March 21 2023

Google Workspace is constantly changing and improving its offerings to help you work more efficiently. It can be hard to keep up! Let’s dive in and check out five new updates to Google Workspace that are sure to make the organized heart in you sing. 

1. Set your availability across multiple calendars when using appointment time slots in Google Calendar

Appointment time slots are a great way for teachers to share their availability with students, parents, and colleagues. They are incredibly versatile, from allowing students to schedule extra help, to setting up quick meetings with parents. Now, with Google Calendar, you can set up appointment time slots that easily block out busy times across multiple calendars. This is a great feature to make sure you never double book yourself again! The first thing you’ll need to do, of course, is make sure you have shared all of your calendars with the account you plan on using to set up appointments. Then, select the day on the calendar that you want to make yourself available and input the dates and times. At the very bottom of the pop-up window, there is a section titled “Calendars checked for availability.” Below, you can select the primary calendar and any other calendars that have been shared with you. Selecting every calendar with events will make sure that you are blocked off as busy during the set appointment window. 

2. Add private replies to student comments in Google Classroom

Google Classroom just got a great tool for student and teacher communication! Now, students are able to leave private comments for their teacher about an assignment. Only the teacher will see these comments that appear with the assignment. This allows students to discreetly ask questions about an assignment without having to leave a comment that the whole class can see. As the teacher, you can reply right on the assignment, or from the email notification sent to you when the student posts the private comment. This feature also works even if you have disabled students from commenting on the stream in your class settings. 

3. Assign tasks to individuals within Google Docs

Google Docs has always been a collaborative place, especially when paired with other Google apps. Now, you can task others with checklist items that will also show up in Google Tasks. Tasks must be enabled by your account administrator in order to use this feature. When someone makes edits to the item, either in Docs or Tasks, these changes will be reflected in the other location. First, insert a checkbox and type the action item. Then, select the assign a task icon next to the checkbox. Next, input the person’s name and choose a deadline. When you’re all set, click on the assign task button. This will send the notification to this person that they have been assigned the task. Check the Task icon along the right sidebar of the Docs file or open up the app in a separate window to see all of the tasks that have been assigned to you in one place. All three of these places will reflect any changes made to the task so assignments can be shared in clear, easy-to-access settings. 

4. Create even more custom colors across Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings

You have always been able to choose your own custom colors by using the color spectrum picker in Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings. Now you can use a dropper to select a color on the open page in any window. Choose the color icon for text, highlight, fill, lines, etc. Down below the preset colors, in the custom colors section, is the color dropper. Hover over the color you would like to use and click on the color to set the exact color you want. I love using this to add elements to a document that tie into a photo or theme image perfectly. 

5. Time-limited share settings

Sharing features within Slides, Docs, and Sheets allow you to easily collaborate with others. This is perfect for sharing content with co-teachers, teacher teams, etc. Sometimes, however, you want to share a file or folder with someone but you don’t necessarily want them to have continual access. Now, you can give guests access without needing to remember to go back and adjust their shared settings. To do so, open up the share settings in the file. Type the person’s name or email address. Select the level of permission you wish to grant and then choose an expiration date in the section below. This will revoke access when the time expires. Another new option for guest sharing is you can share with visitors who do not have a Google account. The sharing process is the same on your end. The non-Google recipient must verify their identity with a pin to enjoy seven days of access to the file. If collaboration is needed beyond that point, the individual must re-verify their identity to continue working. 

As you can see, there are a lot of new features to try out in Google Workspace. We’re excited to hear how they make teaching and learning easier. Have you used any of the features yet? Leave a comment below or reach out to us to let us know your thoughts!

For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more content on the Teq Talk blog or our YouTube channels OTIS for educators and Tequipment.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and support with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology and strategies that spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening!

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