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Google Workspace Gets Deeper Miro Whiteboard Capabilities

‘This partnership will streamline collaboration and brainstorming and increase time to value,’ said John Purcell, chief product officer at DoiT International, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based multi-cloud software and managed service provider.

Google Workspace is partnering with Miro, an online whiteboard platform, to enhance its productivity and collaboration tools and help distributed teams more seamlessly and equitably work together in hybrid environments.

New integrations are designed to enable employees —whether they’re participating in meetings in-person or virtually — to more easily engage and create together, in real time or otherwise, within Google Meet and while using Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

The partnership came to fruition through Miro whiteboard strategy sessions, with both companies brainstorming how the collaboration would work, according to Adrienne McCallister, Google’s vice president of global partnerships.

“Strategic partnerships like the one with Miro allow us to provide even more advanced product experiences in areas that are really important for our customers and, in this case, hybrid working collaboration equity,” McAllister told CRN. “By expanding this integration with Miro and bringing all these new capabilities from Miro’s intuitive whiteboard experience into Google Workspace, we’re really looking to help teams ideate and innovate more immersively, regardless of their location or the backdrop of their Meet call.”

The San Francisco-based Miro likens its digital whiteboards to an “infinite canvas” that its more than 20 million users -- up from 5 million this time last year -- can employ to lead workshops and meetings, design products and brainstorm ideas.

“You can actually put the content in Miro, and bringing all those tools together allows you to read, lay out and map how the whole project connects together, so you don’t have to switch between tabs,” said Kev Chung, Miro’s head of global partnerships.

Miro also has integrations with collaboration tools including Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Jira and Notion.

“We have over 100 integrations,” Chung said. “What’s unique about the Google and Miro relationship is we’ve really gone deep into the conversations with each other on how to build the experience. We’re going many steps deeper in terms of how can we make the experience more seamless and frictionless and be able to make it so that like it feels like you’re working across the same set of tools.”

The Miro app for Workspace is available in the Google Workspace Marketplace for all of Google Workspace’s consumer, enterprise and education users — which number more than 3 billion, up from 2.6 billion in October of 2020 and 2 billion in March of 2020 — in addition to Miro users.

All Google Workspace and Miro users currently can use Google Docs, Sheets and Slides directly in Miro. A two-way editing feature allows them to co-edit and co-create Google content, either in Miro or on Docs, Sheets and Slides, and everything stays in sync.

“To alleviate time wasted on context switching and catch-up time across work hours, the integration will automatically sync users’ documents between Miro and Google Drive,” McCallister said.

New Features Coming In 2022

Starting in early 2022, teams will be able to attach and share Miro boards to a Google Calendar invite to allow meeting attendees to prep beforehand.

“The benefit of that is it gives the participants this full visual picture of the meeting, the agenda and content ahead of time,” Chung said. “It’s great, because Google actually already does that with the existing Workspace suite. Now, adding Miro on top of that gives it this additional visual layer…so everybody comes to the meeting fully informed from the start.”

Teams also will be able to launch integrated Miro boards in Google Meet for video meetings beginning early next year, allowing participants to see the boards side by side with all other Meet participants.

“What that actually does is create this…richer engagement of conversation,” Chung said. “Because the Miro board is side by side, actually all participants can navigate the board and comment on the board. It’s just a very dynamic way of meeting. And people can actually create comments together, co-create content together during a live meeting, which is basically trying to replicate what people would do in office. We’re empowering everybody to have the same access to information and equally contribute regardless of where they are.”

That function resonates with John Purcell, chief product officer at DoiT International, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based multi-cloud software and managed service provider specializing in Kubernetes, machine learning and big data.

“We use the tools, disparately today to ideate and problem solve,” said Purcell, whose company is a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Managed Service Provider, and Google Cloud’s 2020 Global Reseller of the Year. “It’s clunky to toggle between the different platforms, and it’s cumbersome to get everyone access to a Miro board on the fly. The integration, I imagine, will make the usability more seamless, less friction, and we won’t lose engagement along the way.”

Users also will be able to draw, diagram and add text and shapes to “connect the dots” between Google Docs, Sheets and Slides on a Miro board so they can visualize connection points between work, according to the companies.

In addition to streamlined collaboration and brainstorming, the expanded Google Cloud-Miro partnership will increase time to value, according to Purcell.

“As a remote-first company, productivity tools delivered through Google Workspace enable our teams to collaborate with one another and partners with ease,” he said. “With teams located across 15 countries and customers across more than 70 countries, we rely on the capabilities of Miro and Google Workspace to drive innovation and keep us connected.”

The new capabilities will be useful for hybrid workforces across industries in the post-pandemic “new normal” of hybrid workforces, said Swarraj Kulkarni, chief technology officer at MediaAgility, a Princeton, N.J.-based digital consultancy, Google Cloud Premier Partner and Google Cloud Managed Services Provider.

“For example, the workforce across the media and entertainment industry would be able to effectively make use of this ecosystem to collaboratively ideate, brainstorm prototype design, discuss the roadmap of their content storyboards and content workflows, etc.,” Kulkarni told CRN. “Content creators, reporters, editors and designers can work from anywhere simultaneously, conduct whiteboard sessions collaboratively, capture notes and convert them into actionable roadmap.”

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