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Google Visible Changes Summary for 2020

Natalie Sorrells

Natalie Sorrells

November 25, 2020

Here is a running summary of the visible changes to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) in 2020. We will continue to update this list every month so check back often. Contact us with any questions about the new features or how to enable them for your users.

November Already Launched New Google Workspace Features:

Improving Google Meet attendance reports and making them available to more customers

  • In Google Meet, Adding live stream viewership data in real-time and in attendance reports
  • Admin control over attendance tracking
  • Google Meet Attendance Report creation
  • Avail to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus

Gradual Rollout 11/24/20 | All

Virtually raise your hand to ask a question in Google Meet

  • Video meeting participants can now let you know if they have a question by raising their hand in Meet
  • A new raise hand icon will be located in the lower right corner
  • Moderators will be notified of raised hands and will be able to easily see all raised hands in the meeting

Gradual Rollout 11/17/20 | All

Rooms in Google Chat to be unthreaded by default starting November 16

  • Conversations in Google Chat will be unthreaded by default unless you turn on threads for a specific room

Full Rollout 11/16/20 | All

Accept knocks in bulk in Google Meet

  • The meeting organizer can now accept all pending knocks in bulk in Google Meet

Gradual Rollout 11/4/20 | Rapid

Set your status as away in Google Chat in Gmail

  • You can now set yourself as “away” in Chat in Gmail.

Gradual Rollout 11/12/20 | Scheduled

Replace your background in Google Meet

  • You can now replace your background with an image in Google Meet. You can choose between preset Google images or upload your own image

Gradual Rollout 11/5/20 | Extended Rollout

Schedule Calendar events from Google Chat

  • You can now schedule meetings directly from chat
  • On mobile, the Calendar app will automatically open with an event drafted

Gradual Rollout 11/4/20 | All

October Already Launched New Google Workspace Features:

Introducing Google Workspace and a new set of offerings to better meet your needs

  • G Suite is now Google Workspace
  • What’s changing in UI: icons, branding, & continued focus from Google on adding and refining features for Google Workspace apps
  • Google is also changing its offerings for future licensing options

Now available 10/6/20 | All

Folder sharing in shared drives now generally available

  • You can now share subfolders of Shared Drives in Google Drive
  • This feature will be available on the Drive web app, Android, iOS, Drive File Stream, and the Drive API

Gradual Rollout 10/6/20 | Scheduled

See read receipts on direct messages in Google Chat, now generally available

  • Read receipts in Google chat are now generally available
  • This update will increase feature parity between Google Chat and Hangouts Chat
  • Only available in 1:1 chats
  • You will see the person’s G Suite profile picture next to the last message they read

Extended Rollout 10/8/20 | All

Create breakout rooms for more engaged distance learning in Google Meet

  • G Suite Enterprise for Education only
  • Moderators can now break out Meet rooms into smaller groups
    • Create up to 100 breakout rooms on one call
  • Participants can easily rejoin the main meeting following small group discussion

Full Rollout 10/8/20 | All

Increase engagement with Q&A and polls in Google Meet

Gradual Rollout 10/8/20 | All

Grant access to Drive files directly from Gmail

  • Google is making it easier to manage access to Drive files by making access requests manageable as a part of dynamic emails
  • This feature will only be available to users who have dynamic email set to ON

Gradual Rollout 10/14/20 | All

Introducing data protection insights reports

  • New data protection reports will show:
    • How many files in your organization contain sensitive information
    • How many files in your organization have been shared externally
    • Insights into the type of sensitive information (e.g. credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.) in those files

Gradual Rollout 10/15/20 | All

Use Smart Fill to help automate data entry in Google Sheets

  • As you begin populating data into sheets columns, if Sheets notices a pattern, it will begin to autofill information in a column

Gradual Rollout 10/15/20 | All

September Already Launched New G Suite Features:

Cast Google Meet to your TV

  • You can now cast Meet calls to TVs and smart displays
  • Turn any room into a personal conference room

This feature is now available 8/27/2020 | All

Enable the new integrated experience in G Suite across the web and Android

  • New features will launch to all organizations with the Chat Preferred + Meet (see full announcement for complete list of configurations) enabled in the admin console
  • Some features of integrated G Suite need to be configured. Ensure you are prepared by visiting the setup page
  • Gmail will feature Mail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet
  • See the full announcement for details

Gradual Rollout 9/1/2020 | Scheduled

New features to help improve and analyze data in Google Sheets

  • Google is adding two new features to make Sheets data analysis easier and more intuitive:
    • Cleanup suggestions, which helps ensure your data is accurate by identifying and suggesting fixes for common data errors
    • Column stats, which provides automated insights about the values within a column, so you can identify outliers and quickly get a sense of what your data looks like

Gradual Rollout 9/22/2020 | Rapid

Dynamic groups beta enables automatic group membership management

  • Dynamic groups let you keeps groups up to date using a membership search query
  • These queries can be based on one or many attributes
  • These settings will be accessible via the Cloud Identity API and the Admin console

Gradual Rollout 9/22/2020 | All

Folder sharing in shared drives now generally available

  • You can now share subfolders of Shared Drives in Google Drive
  • This feature will be available on the Drive web app, Android, iOS, Drive File Stream, and the Drive API

Gradual Rollout 9/16/2020 | Rapid

See up to 49 people, including yourself, in Google Meet

  • You can now see up to 49 people in the tiled layout view
  • This feature is OFF be default (default is 20 tiles in tiled view)

Full Rollout 9/15/2020 | Rapid

Blur your background in Google Meet

  • To help limit distractions, you can now blur backgrounds in meetings
  • This feature is OFF by default
  • There is no admin control for this feature

Gradual Rollout 9/15/2020 | Rapid

New Google Groups becoming the default for all users on September 15, 2020

  • On September 15th, the New Google Groups interface will become the default for all users
  • Previously, admins could disable the new interface

Full Rollout 9/15/2020 | All

Google Drive trash items will be automatically deleted after 30 days starting on October 13, 2020

  • Items in a user’s Google Drive trash will now be deleted after 30 days
  • Items retained in Google Vault will not be affected by this change

Extended Rollout 9/15/2020 | All

Filter audit logs and usage reports by groups

  • You can now filter audit logs and usage reports by groups
  • This feature is helpful for seeing the activity across the members of a groups
  • See full announcement for details

This feature will be immediately available 9/10/2020 | All

New APIs to sign out users and control 2-Step Verification

  • Google is adding 2 new APIs to the Admin SDK Directory API
  • The first allows admins to sign users out of all sessions, to help manage access when users leave an organization
  • The second allows an admin to turn 2SV off, removing all methods on an account

This feature will be immediately available 9/14/2020 | All

Collaborate with people who are not using a Google account in Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites

  • Google is making Visitor Sharing widely available
  • Non-google account holders can access files using a secure, pin-code based method
  • September: Setting to enable/disable this feature will appear in admin console
  • If sharing is allowed outside of the organization, this feature is ON by default

Gradual Rollout 9/8/2020 | Rapid

Expanding shortcuts in Google Drive, reducing unorganized files

  • Google is removing the ability to use ctrl + shift + z to create multiple file locations; this action can still be used to create multiple folders
  • Google will migrate existing multiple files to the shortcut system sometime in 2021
  • See the full announcement for details

Gradual Rollout 9/9/20 | Scheduled

August Already Launched New G Suite Features:

New beta adds IRM controls for DLP to help protect sensitive information

  • Admins can now prevent downloading, printing, and copying using DLP rules
  • Previously, DLP prevented the sharing of sensitive documents, however users could still download, print, or copy them
  • This feature is designed to enhance the security of protected or sensitive organizational data

This feature is available now for all users 7/28/2020 | All

Set the default meeting length for Google Calendar events in your domain

  • A setting has been added in the Admin console to define default meeting lengths for all users in a domain
  • Previously, this could only be defined in individual users’ Calendar settings
  • See full announcement for details

Gradual Rollout 7/28/2020 | All

Updating video conferencing owner for delegated and transferred calendar events

  • Google Meet conferencing has been improved to follow the policies on Calendar owners’ settings, rather than Calendar delegates
  • Calendar events will no longer break when original owners of transferred events leave an organization

Extended Rollout 7/29/2020 | All

Dark theme now available for Google Chat on Android and iOS

  • Dark mode is rolling out to Google Chat apps on Android and iOS
  • This feature is designed to enhance visibility in low-light conditions

Gradual Rollout 7/29/2020 | All

Automatically see shared calendars associated with a Google Group when you join it

  • Within 1 hour of joining a Google Group, users will receive an email summary of calendars they can join
  • Users can add all group calendars with a single click
  • Note: if a group has more than 100 calendars associated with it, no email will be sent

Extended Rollout 8/3/2020 | Scheduled

Access checker for Slides makes sure embedded video and audio is playable

  • Access checker is a feature in Gmail and Google Chat ensuring recipients have access to Drive files
  • Now, when you insert video or audio into Slides, Access Checker will ensure those who have access to the presentation will have access to audio and video files

Extended Rollout 8/4/2020 | Rapid

Google Docs mobile improvements: link previews and Smart Compose

  • Mobile (Android and iOS) versions of Google Docs are being updated to include two popular web features
    • Link previews, which help you get context from linked content without bouncing between apps and screens 
    • Smart Compose, which helps you write faster and with more confidence
    • See the full announcement for details

Mixed Rollout Pace 8/5/2020 | All

Review presentations more quickly with new viewing interface on Google Slides Android app

  • On the Android version of the Google Slides app, you can now: 
    • Scroll through a seamless, vertical stream of slides with a, new improved UX
    • Pinch to zoom to get a closer look
    • Easily switch to editing, presenting, or casting content

Extended Rollout 8/5/2020 | All

Ring groups in Google Voice now generally available

  • Ring Groups allow multiple people in the organization to make and receive calls from the same number
  • Feature was previously in Beta, but is now generally available
  • Admins can customize several aspects of Ring Groups, including:
    • Simultaneous or random order call routing
    • Who in the ring group can make outbound calls
    • What happens to unanswered calls
    • Ring group business hours

Available now 8/7/2020 | All

Migration of Drive DLP rules to new system

Extended Rollout 8/10/2020 | All

Assignments now generally available for G Suite for Education customers

  • Assignments are being turned on as a core service of G Suite for Education users to help optimize workflows, including:
    • Distributing personalized Google Drive templates and worksheets to students 
    • Enabling students to submit Google Drive files as assignments 
    • Analyzing student work for plagiarism and fostering authentic writing with originality reports 
    • Providing feedback and grades which sync to your LMS gradebook 
    • See the full announcement for details

Full Rollout 8/11/2020 | All

Block Google Meet participants from knocking again

  • For education only
  • Now, when a moderator rejects a participant’s attempt to join a Meet twice, the participant will be blocked from attempting to join again
  • Moderators can also choose to “eject” participants
    • Blocked participants will not be able to re-join or attempt to re-join a meeting, even if they are internal users or on the calendar invite

Gradual Rollout 8/11/2020 | All

Improvements to Google Classroom: class links, SIS export, ApSki integration, and more

Extended Rollout 8/11/2020 | All

Enable the new integrated experience in G Suite across the web and Android

  • New features will launch to all organizations with the Chat Preferred + Meet (see full announcement for complete list of configurations) enabled in the admin console
  • Some features of integrated G Suite need to be configured. Ensure you are prepared by visiting the setup page
  • Gmail will feature Mail, Chat, Rooms, and Meet
  • See the full announcement for details

Gradual Rollout 8/12/2020 | Rapid

Update your G Suite mobile and desktop apps before August 12, 2020, to ensure they continue working

  • Some versions of G Suite desktop and mobile apps released prior to December 2018 will stop working on August 12, 2020
  • See the full announcement for a list of applications that need to be updated

Full Rollout 8/12/2020 | All

Timelines and tools for transition from classic to new Google Sites: New sites by default

  • Starting August 13th, 2020, the new Sites interface will become the default for Site creation
  • In December of 2021, when users try to visit an old Site, they will no longer see content
  • Admins can use Classic Sites Manager to transition old sites to new sites

Extended Rollout 8/13/2020 | All

Assign Google Voice numbers to users before a port is completed

  • Admins can now assign Google Voice numbers to users while a port is still in progress
  • Users can immediately use the number once porting is completed
  • This change is designed to reduce downtime for users
    • Previously, admins could only assign numbers after porting, and only then could users activate the application

Full Rollout 8/13/2020 | All

Improved mobile interface for new Groups

  • Earlier this year, Google released a new interface for the desktop Groups application
  • Now, Google is releasing a new interface for the mobile application to make it easier to:

Gradual Rollout 8/17/2020 | Rapid

June/July Already Launched New G Suite Features:

Improved Google Calendar event creation on the web

In web versions of Calendar, the compact scheduling window or pop-up scheduling window will now include additional options, including:

  • Time: set recurrence and time zone
  • Guest permissions
  • Add attachments
  • Event color, notifications, free/busy, and event visibility

Full Rollout 7/7/2020 | Rapid

Full color support and more updates to printing on Google Calendar

  • You can now print your calendar in full color
  • You can also print one day or one week per sheet
  • Events shorter than 25 minutes are now displayed as the true event duration (less than a half-hour block)
  • Location will be shown, space permitting

Full Rollout 7/13/2020 | Rapid

Anonymous users will be blocked from Google Meet for G Suite for Education meetings by default

  • Users without a G Suite account (anonymous users) can no longer attend Google Meets organized by anyone with a G Suite for Education account
  • This prevents public sharing of meet links to encourage anonymous users to join

Gradual Rollout 7/13/2020 | All

Meet in Gmail on mobile now rolling out on iOS

  • Meet links are now available from directly within the Gmail app on iOS
  • A new blue meet icon has been added to Gmail to enhance integration between applications

Gradual Rollout 7/13/2020 | All

New chart axis customization in Sheets – tick marks, tick spacing, and axis lines

New controls added to enhance visualizations:

  • Add major and minor tick marks to charts
  • Customize tick mark location (inner, outer, and cross) and style (color, length, and thickness)
  • Set the precise numeric spacing between major and minor axis ticks or grid lines
  • Choose to show or remove the line that marks the axis

Gradual Rollout 6/29/2020 | Rapid

Connected Sheets now generally available, replacing Sheets data connector

  • Connected sheets are now generally available to analyze BigQuery data in Google Sheets
  • Users can easily analyze BigQuery data without knowing SQL
  • Connected Sheets is replacing the existing Sheets Data Connector

Extended Rollout 6/30/2020 | All

Filter out disruptive noise in Google Meet

  • Use the new Noise Cancellation feature inside of the Google Meet settings panel to filter out background noise and distractions
  • Cloud-based AI removes keyboard typing, television noise, background voices, paper shuffling, door noises, and more

Now available 6/30/2020 | All

Currents to become generally available on July 6, 2020, replacing Google+ for G Suite

Gradual Rollout 7/6/2020 | All

Manage Google Chat and classic Hangouts settings from one place in the Admin console

  • Admin console settings for Google Chat and Classic Hangouts Chat are being combined
  • Both chats will now be controlled by a single on/off switch
  • Existing Classic Hangouts Chat settings will be automatically mapped to the new Google Chat settings
  • We recommend using the Chat Preferred setting to transition users and provide control at the OU level

Gradual Rollout 7/6/2020 | All

Use Gmail alongside other iOS apps with iPad Multitasking

  • When using an iPad, you can now use Gmail and other iOS applications at the same time
  • There is no admin control for this feature
  • See the full announcement for more details about enhanced functionality of Gmail while multitasking on iPads

Now available 7/6/2020 | All

Better visualize shorter meetings in Google Calendar

  • Events lasting less than 25 minutes will now be visualized on Calendar to take up less space than 30-minute meetings
    • Short meetings will now take up quarter-hour spaces rather than half-hour spaces 
    • This change will also show in the printed version of the Calendar

Full Rollout 7/7/2020 | Rapid

New chart text and number formatting options in Sheets

New chart text and formatting options in Sheets, including:

  • Directly click on chart text elements to change formatting
  • Advanced number formatting options, including conditional color formatting
  • New sidebar editing experience

Gradual Rollout 7/7/2020 | Rapid

May/ June Already Launched New G Suite Features:

External Chat in Google Chat

Gradual Rollout 5/18/2020

Group-based controls for LDAP client access permissions

Gradual Rollout 6/8/2020

Chat Transition from Hangouts Classic Chat

  • You can now migrate all users to the new Google Chat using the “Chat Preferred” setting in the admin console
  • For more information on migrating users using this tool, click here
  • Google Chat will become the default chat tool for your organization
  • See the full announcement for more details

Gradual Rollout 6/2/2020

Google Voice Available in Gmail

Gradual Rollout 6/3/2020

New Google Groups Launched

Gradual Rollout 6/9/2020

Scheduled Features to Launch:

Strengthening 2-Step Verification by showing phone prompts to more users

  • Starting July 7th, phone verification prompts will become the primary 2SV method for eligible users, unless security keys are used
  • Any user signed into their Google Account on a smartphone will be eligible
  • End-user impacts include following phone prompts to verify login attempts
  • See full the announcement for more details

Gradual Rollout 6/16/20

Currents to replace Google+ in July

  • On July 6th, Currents (Google+ replacement) will become generally available to all G Suite customers
  • The Currents Android and iOS apps will replace the Google+ app, which will no longer be supported
  • Existing Google+ links will still work, but will redirect to Currents

Gradual Rollout 6/22/20

Pin Code Sharing with non-Google Users

  • Google is making Visitor Sharing widely available
  • Non-google account holders can access files using a secure, pin-code based method
  • June 8: Setting to enable/disable this feature will appear in the admin console
  • If sharing is allowed outside of the organization, this feature is ON by default

Early July


* Rollout Pace:

  • Full rollout (1–3 days for feature visibility)
  • Gradual rollout (up to 15 days for feature visibility)
  • Extended rollout (potentially longer than 15 days for feature visibility)
Natalie Sorrells

Natalie Sorrells

November 25, 2020

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