Google Documents introduces “Out of office” information for multi-person thread

  • Google Document introduces ‘out of Office’ feature to let others know that you are absent at that particular period. This feature aids in a person’s availability and non-availability and when he/she is about to return.
  • This availability status feature is not innovative. This same feature was seen and still is followed by Slack.
  • The main motive to introduce such type of feature to Google Docs is to reduce the stresses possible seen ruining vacations. But with a single click, you need not need to cancel appointments every often whenever it gets popped up in your notifications.
  • The indication to your unavailability gets your appointed meetings declined automatically all at once. Even better: any other meetings you’re added to while you’re out will be declined, and whoever invited you will be notified.
  • This feature was added by Google in 2018 but finally introducing itself in January 2021.
  • Interestingly, the feature can also integrate the Google Calendar with the other applications such as on Slack, changing the status when you are OOO(this is a blank indicator/symbol to notify you are unavailable)
  • By default, all meetings set during your out-of-office time will be declined—this applies both to meetings you’ve already accepted and any new meetings someone might invite you to. You can also leave a custom message, explaining where you’ll be and (potentially) how people can reach you. Going forward, anyone who tries to schedule an appointment with you during your out-of-office time will also be declined.
  • Following the availability criteria in the Google Docs, users are also allowed to create a chat thread that subsequently includes the comments, replies, as well as mentioning the other user. This statement was made by Google in a recent blog post about the release of this feature. This post further explains how one can take notice of the other known person’s date of returning with the help of a banner while mentioning the user in a new comment or thread.
  • Users will see condensed ‘out of office’ information for multi-person threads. They can then select the info icon to view more information on each specific person.
  • There is no admin control for this feature.
  • Users will automatically see the relevant information for users who have set their status as ‘out of office’ when replying to or mentioning them in a comment.
  • The collaboration for the multi-user document can be organised using the Google calendars. The reason behind this decision is to arrange and organise a new work environment so that if any co-worker is absent from the office/workplace whenever a comment is tagged on behalf of him or he is mentioned in a comment. To this the latest update on Google Docs for G suite/ workspace subscribers can lead to a warning/ alert for his absence. The update was confirmed in an official Google Workspace blog post and should really help prevent passive-aggressive emails probing why a co-worker or colleague hasn’t seen an update or comment within Google Docs.
  • On an attempt to tag someone in a collaborative Google Docs sheet/document, a small pop-up section is visible that includes any out-of-office information for that employee or teammate with any information on when they are set to return. If multiple people are set to be out of office, then you’ll simply see a condensed pop-up with detailed information available by clicking the “info” icon.
  • This is a change that we’re sure many people will wholeheartedly welcome, but it’s important to note that dates need to be marked in a shared Calendar. If co-workers are not marking a shared Google Calendar, then Docs won’t pull out-of-office information at all. We’re sure that this will help save some frustration for bigger projects that rely on large teams of people working concurrently within one document.
  • The feature is available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, as well as G Suite Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Non-profits customers.
  • Everyone expects to see the out-of-office prompts within Google Docs for rapid release domains from today, with a rollout occurring over the next 15 days. Scheduled release domains will begin seeing the option from February 15, 2021. That means it should be available globally by the start of March 2021.

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