Company unveils new branding, features for office tools ranging from Gmail to Meet and Docs
Google is rebranding its G Suite of office productivity apps as Google Workspace and introducing new features that will more tightly integrate the various underlying tools like Gmail, Docs, Meet, and Drive.
The Lowdown: The company this week also said it’s introducing new icons for the apps to better reflect the integration between them.
The Details: Google over the years had created the various tools to address particular needs and to challenge Microsoft Windows as the world became more cloud-centric. It collected the tools – which also include Calendar, Sheets, Slides, and others – under the G Suite umbrella in 2016. Now that umbrella is Google Workspace.
The company is also introducing a number of features and offerings to address such issues as:
> Collaboration: In the coming weeks, users will be able to create and collaborate on a document with guests in a Chat room.
> Efficiency: In Docs, Sheets, and Slides, users can preview a linked file without having to open a new tab. Also, when users @mention someone in the document, a smart chip will show contact details, provide context, and suggest actions, including adding that person to Contacts or contacting them by e-mail, chat, or video.
> Human connection: In the coming months, Google will bring its Meet picture-in-picture feature – which enables users to collaborate over video with the people they’re working with – to Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
> New icons: The four-color icons for the various apps will further reinforce the integration between the tools.
> Education: Google is bringing Google Workspace to education and nonprofit customers over the next few months. These users will be able to continue using G Suite for Education and G Suite for Nonprofits will still be available to them in the meantime.
> New editions: Google is aiming to create editions that are more tailored to customer segments, including editions for smaller businesses that are looking for faster self-service purchases and for larger enterprises with more complex implementation demands and longer buying and deployment cycles.
The Impact: Google wants the new branding and features to reflect the rapidly changing ways that people work, such as a trend toward remote work that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the dramatic shift to employees working from home. It also means communications that are becoming more digitized and less face-to-face, telehealth, and distance learning.
Background: Google has become the principal rival to Microsoft 365. The company announced in March that G Suite had passed the 2 billion-user mark late last year, though that number didn’t break out the number of paying and non-paying users or what apps they were using.
The Buzz: “When many of our products were first developed 10 years ago, they were created as individual apps that solved distinct challenges – like a better e-mail with Gmail, or a new way for individuals to collaborate together with Docs,” Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, wrote in a blog post. “Over time, our products have become more integrated, so much so that the lines between our apps have started to disappear. Our new Google Workspace brand reflects this more connected, helpful, and flexible experience. … Google Workspace embodies our vision for a future where work is more flexible, time is more precious, and enabling stronger human connections becomes even more important. It’s a vision we’ve been building toward for more than a decade, and one we’re excited to bring to life together with you.”