Google Workspace acquires Playspace, a video, screenshare, & whiteboard collaboration tool

Google wants to build tools for the future of (hybrid) work with Workspace. To that end, Google Workspace is acquiring the team behind Playspace.

Playspace calls itself a “dedicated, flexible spaces for meetings, brainstorms, team hangs, and everything in between.” The team behind it was responsible for the popular Mailbox email client on iOS and Mac several years ago.

The main Playspace UI features a navigation drawer that shows a list of “Today’s Meetings,” people (with status indicators), and — unsurprisingly — “Rooms.” These Rooms offer built-in tools like a whiteboard, text scratchpad, and even the ability for a group to listen to the same song. A “Magic Screenshare” tool “teleports everyone to your desktop for collaborative editing and annotation.”

It features Slack integration, one-click join, recordings, live streaming, and the ability to create/join from Google Calendar events.

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Google Workspace acquires Playspace, a video, screenshare, & whiteboard collaboration tool 2

Playspace offered preview access to a “handful of teams” in April and has been working on a wider launch since. However, as it explained today:

Along the way we learned about what Javier and the Workspace team are up to at Google. It sounded more than a little exciting: here was a widely adopted platform, built atop one of the world’s most advanced tech stacks, ready and eager to evolve to meet the needs of remote collaboration… Javier invited us to be part of their journey in building solutions for the hybrid future of work — and the opportunity has us positively giddy.

The current version of Playspace will be turned off next week, but it will be brought “to life as an experience within Google Workspace.” How exactly that happens remains to be seen. Google Chat, Rooms, Docs, and Jamboard all offer the same capabilities, but in a less integrated manner. It’s not clear whether Playspace will live on as a separate Workspace app or end up being integrated into Gmail, specifically Spaces as that is the current direction for all of Google’s productivity tools.

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