Google launches Smart Canvas for more Workspace collaboration

At Google I/O 2021, the tech giant announces plans to enhance its Workspace apps.

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read
Google IO 2021 keynote

Google I/O al fresco.


Google I/O, the tech giant's annual developers conference, kicked off on Tuesday and introduced Smart Canvas, a new collaboration tool in the Google Workspace. that brings Docs, Sheets and Slides together more efficiently. Rolling out through the rest of the year, Smart Canvas aims to make it easier to stay connected, focused and better use your time.

Smart Canvas will enhance apps like Docs, Sheets and Slides with new features like smart chips, templates and checklists for a more seamless experience. 

Smart chips in Docs expands on the already available "@ mention" feature. With Smart Canvas, when you type "@," smart chips will now add files, meetings and linked documents, as well as people, without swapping tabs. Google said the feature will arrive for Sheets in the coming months.


A look at the new '@ mention' with Google Smart Canvas.

Screenshot by CNET

Docs will also feature checklists on web and mobile so you can assign items to other people. The items will be visible in Google Tasks as well. Smart Canvas will also bring on table templates in Docs for a new way to gather feedback easily from team members, as well as track project statuses. Smart Canvas will also add a new pageless format for Docs, new views in Sheets like a timeline view for task-tracking and flexible view for organization. 

In addition, with Smart Canvas, team members will be able to present content to a Google Meet call on the web directly from the Doc, Sheet, or Slide wherever the team is working. In the fall, Meet will work directly with Docs, Sheets and Slides, according to Google. Integrations with Google Chat are also rolling out, as well as emoji reactions in Docs and assisted writing features.

Watch this: Google debuts Smart Canvas