There’s a massive change coming to G Suite. The enterprise-level application suite has gotten a huge overhaul. Firstly, Google has decided to rebrand the offering as Google Workspace. Then, it’s added a bunch of features to make collaborative working more seamless.
While we do see hints of Microsoft in the announcement, let’s not take credit away from Google. Google Workspace will merge Gmail, chat and Docs giving users a seamless way to connect across apps. Oh, and the apps have also received new icons to reflect that change.
Rebranding for Google Workspace
Let’s start with the name. Google Workspace is a much cleaner, easier sounding name. G Suite seemed misleading from the start. Now, you know exactly what you are getting. If you need a recap, G Suite is basically Google’s enterprise software offering apps like Gmail, Drive, Meet and more in a single subscription cost. The company had three tiers – Basic, Business and Enterprise.
Now, Google Workspace will offer all of that, along with a new Business Plus tier. Business Plus is clearly aimed at medium-sized organisations, who need more advanced endpoint management and other features.
To reflect the synchronicity of the platform, Google has updated the icons for Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Meet. They are all now boxy squares, with Google’s four colour palette. That’s bound to see some backlash online, as it is quite a jarring change.
Seamless Working with Google Workspace
The idea behind Google Workspace is to present a single seamless work experience. The VP in charge of Google Workspace, Javier Soltero, wasn’t mincing his words when he said “This is the end of the ‘office’ as we know it.” Indeed, Google is taking the work experience and transforming it into something so much more efficient.
A small example of this seamlessness is already visible: integration of Google Meet into Gmail. In June, Google added Google Meets straight into the Gmail app for Android and iOS. It allowed users to instantly start a call without having to switch apps. Now, Google wants to take that integration, and supercharge it.
Some examples of how this will work are:
- Opening a new document in a group chat window, rather than a new tab for everyone on the chat.
- Start a video call straight from Google Docs with everyone who is working on the document,
- Preview embedded documents without opening them.
Of course, this is just the beginning. The company plans to roll out more features in the future. To be clear, it’s not that everything will live inside a single app like Gmail. Rather, you will see snippets or features of other apps across Google’s suite (or Google Workspace as we must now call it). Initially, these developments will be focused on the desktop and Chrome. These changes won’t be coming to Google’s Android or iOS apps right away.
If you love your third-party integrations, fear not! They aren’t going anywhere. Google promised to support third-party apps like Slack, Trello and Zoom. There’s no word yet on whether third-party apps will enjoy similar integration across apps, but don’t hold your breath. Clearly Google is hoping more people switch to Google’s native solutions instead.
Taking on Microsoft
The idea of breaking up an app isn’t new. In May, Microsoft showed off its new ‘Fluid Framework’ for docs. The company’s approach would allow users to simply create blocks of whatever they needed – Excel sheets or PowerPoint slides – and insert them anywhere. When it launched, The Verge called it “Google Docs on Steroids”.
Now, Google is responding. It’s clearly part of the larger trend of web-based apps breaking up into small useful chunks. The features will roll out over the coming months for users, but is unlikely to dent Microsoft in the short term. That said, Google Workspace is now an actual challenger to Microsoft. Let the productivity fight begin!