Google has begun rebranding its G Suite office apps as Google Workspace, refreshing the look and feel of a product range that encompasses Gmail, Docs, Meet, Sheets and Calendar. More than just a visual refresh, the changes include new features designed to better integrate each app, as well as introducing a ’Business Plus’ pricing tier with more device management features.
Why is Google refining its productivity tools?
Google is playing catch-up with Slack and Microsoft Teams, with the pandemic introducing a new degree of urgency.
Added functionality will enable people to generate documents within Chat – Google’s Slack challenger – without the frustration of switching tabs.
Homeworkers will also be able to hold video conferences, collaborating on documents, sheets and slides within the same window, building a more homogenous user experience.
Users will also gain the ability to preview links within documents by simply hovering over the relevant text with their mouse.
The first to benefit from the improvements will be paying business customers, with the functionality then rolled out to all customers over the coming months.
Catering to a future workforce
Giving voice to the updates, Javier Soltero of Google Workspace said: “For many of us, work is no longer a physical place we go to, and interactions that used to take place in person are being rapidly digitized.“
Soltero sees a world in which office workers have turned their homes into workspaces while frontline workers turn to their phones, necessitating a fundamental rethink of how Google should serve them.
Google Workspace comes against a backdrop of heightened competition in cloud services, with Google going head-to-head with established providers such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft’s Azure with Google Cloud.
The internet giant is also seeking to claim an increased share of the remote working market by challenging the likes of Slack, Zoom and Teams.
As office culture fades from memory, providers of remote working solutions are scrabbling to fulfil capability demands of former office workers now scattered to the four winds.