INTERNET

Google adds new features to Workspace

Google revealed a raft of updates to its Workspace productivity suite, including new features for free users, a paid plan for entrepreneurs and fresh capabilities for its Meet videoconferencing system.

One of the moves, dubbed Workspace for Everyone, will extend the collaboration tools that corporate users receive to nonpaying consumers, the Alphabet company said Monday in a series of blog posts. Google also will offer a tier called Workspace Individual designed for entrepreneurs, which extends premium features of the software to small businesses, and it has upgraded Meet for a hybrid work future, in which some employees attend meetings in the office and others from home.

The effort helps “make the location of work less relevant, assists in the idea that people should be able to work and do what they need to do regardless of where they are and the device they’re using,” Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, said in an interview.

Workspace, which includes the popular email service Gmail, now has more than 3 billion users, Google said. Still, not all of its component applications are equally popular. For more than a year, the Internet giant has loaded Meet with more features to catch up to videoconferencing leader Zoom Video Communications.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Lordstown top executives resign

The top two executives at Lordstown Motors have resigned as problems at the Ohio electric truck start-up mount.

Chief executive Steve Burns and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez stepped down, the company said Monday.

The departures were announced on the same day that Lordstown responded to a scathing March report from the short-selling firm Hindenburg Research that questioned the number of preorders the company claimed to have received for its marquee Endurance vehicle.

Lordstown said that although its independent probe found that the vast majority of the report was unsubstantiated, it acknowledged that one potential buyer that made a large number of preorders doesn’t appear to have adequate resources to make those purchases. Other preorders appear too vague or weak to be relied on, the company said Monday.

The report spawned four potential class-action lawsuits against Lordstown by investors who claim they were defrauded.

Company shares have been on a sharp, downward trajectory since February and the stock fell below the initial public offering price of around $10 on Monday.

Also in Business

The president of General Motors says his company plans to announce more U.S. battery factories later this week. Mark Reuss gave no details of where the factories would be located or what they would manufacture. He spoke in a weekend interview with the Associated Press. Company spokesman Jim Cain wouldn’t comment Monday on the announcements, but noted GM previously stated it would build more factories to add battery capacity as electric vehicles grow in sales. GM has set a goal to stop selling internal-combustion passenger vehicles by 2035.

Shopping mall owner Washington Prime Group, a real estate investment trust that operates enclosed malls and strip centers across the United States, filed for bankruptcy after the coronavirus pandemic drove away shoppers. The Chapter 11 filing in Houston lets Washington Prime stay in business while it restructures its debts in a deal that it reached with certain creditors, according to the bankruptcy. The company, with assets estimated at $4 billion and debt of almost $3.5 billion, secured a bankruptcy loan of as much as $100 million to fund operations during court proceedings.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s leadership team is taking shape with law professor Renee Jones being tapped to run the unit that reviews blank-check companies and will work on rules for corporations’ climate disclosures. Jones, who taught courses at Boston College Law School, will head the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of corporation finance, according to a Monday statement. Her appointment is a departure from the agency’s typical practice of naming a corporate lawyer to run the unit, which examines filings for initial public offerings and SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies. Jones also is the first Black woman to lead one of the SEC’s four major divisions.

NBA star James Harden is joining the board of Saks, newly minted as a stand-alone e-commerce business that is separate from the Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. Harden, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, is also making a minority investment in Saks. His business portfolio spans several consumer categories, including products with BodyArmor drinks, Stance socks and Pura fragrances. He also has a sneaker and apparel line with Adidas.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases retail sales data for May.

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for May.

9:15 a.m.: Federal Reserve releases industrial production for May.

All day: Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting to set interest rates.