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The interesting announcement from Google I/O isn’t the flashy one

While the super cool news out of Google I/O is the talking AI and their new Project Starline, which brings holographic communication to life… I instead want to talk about a more boring move.

The company has launched a new series of workspace collaboration tools called Smart Canvas.     The idea is to bring the productivity apps together for greater collaboration and to make them connect more seamlessly.     New @ mentions for users with smart information about the users, improved linking features, and more insight into the use of language, such as offering more inclusive language such as chairperson instead of chairman.

And, why do we care about this product? 

I wanted to observe that while the talking AI and the holograms make cool demos, the money is in the boring stuff.     I’ve talked about my interest in building services businesses around the productivity layer.   Well, here’s enhancements and investments showing Google cares about these products. 

A hidden feature in this is the deemphasis of the “paper”, as there are now document formats without paper boundaries, plus ways to share documents right in Google meet.   The documents themselves become electronic artifacts disjointed from the idea of paper.     That’s philosophically interesting – are we in a new era of work when we don’t connect to paper.     These questions of how to use the products.. well, that’s the value in services, right?