By John Glenday, Reporter

October 6, 2020 | 3 min read

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.

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