Product Hunt Weekly Digest
May 23rd, 2021

Google’s answer to Notion
Thoughts on Smart Canvas?
Earlier this month, Notion rolled out its API into a public beta and a few days after that, the Notion integrations started rolling in including G-Suite related products like Gmail to Notion.

Google’s not planning to play second fiddle though. Last week was its annual Google I/O developer conference. One of the biggest announcements was Smart Canvas which is not a new product but a host of updates that make its Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides more collaborative.

Smart chips (i.e. @mentions) now work for documents too instead of just people. Combine that with pageless docs, emojis, connected checklists, and table templates and you’ve got a collaborative workspace that jumps back into the future alongside competitors.

Not content with taking on just Notion, Google Sheets is getting a timeline view and teams can now edit content from a Google Chat room, which combined with other tools gives it some lite project management potential. There’s also now a quick way to present your docs directly to Meet, and in the fall Google will add Meet directly into Docs, Sheets, and Slides so you can meet and collaborate side-by-side.

Google had told us they were working on updates to Google Meet last month which included standard Zoom features like background replacements, improved pinning (and multi-pinning), streamlined controls, and higher quality meetings. They’ll soon be adding live captions and translations too. That may cause concerns for Otter.ai.

Smart Canvas wasn’t the only buzzy news of I/O. Google announced that Android has surpassed the milestone of 3 billion devices. Those users can try out the beta of Android 12 today which Google itself says is “the biggest design change in Android's history.”

Google has unified Android software and hardware ecosystems under a single design language which it’s calling Material You (a progression of its Material Design system introduced in 2014). The updates are heavy on personalization which has been a priority for Android from the start. Users can customize the color palette and adjust things like size and line width. Designs will follow you across the entire OS and not just on your phone but to Chrome OS, wearables, and other Google products.

Not last and not least, Google introduced LaMDA, a new natural language processing technique that makes AI conversations more natural-feeling by better responding to unusual or unexpected queries — i.e. if you’re talking about planets and you change the topic, it won’t be thrown for a loop. This could mean better interactions for your toddler and AI in the future.

For today, you can get started with those smart-er chips and checklists in Google Docs or let us know what you think of the updates.
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