This article was originally published on October 8, 2020.
Google announced the rebranding and fresh redesign of the G Suite this week. The new name? Google Workspace, a timely, smart, and ambitious reimagination of what the company says is the result of “work itself transforming in unprecedented ways.”
Javier Soltero, VP and GM of Google Workspace, described the new platform as “everything you need to get anything done, now in one place. Google Workspace includes all of the productivity apps you know and love—Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and many more.”
The three core elements of the change include: an integrated user experience; a new brand identity that encapsulates the vision and power of the integrated suite; and specifically targeted ways for Google’s wide range of customers to jumpstart their use of the tools.
Raul Castanon, senior analyst at 451 Research / S&P Global Market Intelligence, told Computerworld that “the rebranding marks a milestone reflecting how Google has streamlined its portfolio over the past two years, bringing together products that were previously loosely integrated into a tightly unified suite.”
Suite Surprise: What’s New in Workspace?
Here’s a couple of examples of changes the millions of users can take advantage of right now and what Google is rolling out over the next couple of weeks.
Business users can already connect with customers and partners using guest access features in both Chat and Drive. Next up, users will be able to dynamically create and collaborate on a document with guests in a Chat room. “This makes it easy to share content and directly work together with those outside your organization,” Soltero noted, “and ensure that everyone has access and visibility to the same information.”
In July, Google announced Meet picture-in-picture to Gmail and Chat, “so you can actually see and hear the people you’re working with, while you’re collaborating,” Soltero pointed out. “In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out Meet picture-in-picture to Docs, Sheets, and Slides, too. This is especially powerful for customer interactions where you’re pitching a proposal or walking through a document.
“Where before, you could only see the file you were presenting,” he added, “now you’ll get all those valuable nonverbal cues that come with actually seeing someone’s face.”
As for initial questions and implications regarding the announcement, Soltero addressed support for third-party apps. He told The Verge that Google has “no intention of reducing support for third-party apps in Google Workspace.”
So, for instance, if your team already is using a mix of Google services, Slack, Asana, Zoom, or anything else, nothing should change there, reported The Verge. “But the new integrations and promise of less tab-hopping shows that Google is hoping that more of its users will start using more of its products instead of the alternative.”
You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers
In announcing Workspace, Soltero pointed to three tenets that helped drive the revamp, which should be music to users’ ears: “Simplicity, helpfulness, flexibility—these guiding principles apply both to the way people experience our products and to the way we do business.”
C2C is excited to announce that Soltero will be joining one of our interactive C2C Rockstar Conversations on Nov. 19 to talk about all things Workspace. We’ll unpack the new features and functionalities, ask him about what’s coming next as the concept of “work” continues to evolve, and give you the chance to ask him your questions.
Soltero and Google have sizeable ambitions for Workspace, and they go far beyond integrated productivity apps.
What we are all experiencing today “are unique challenges, but they also represent a significant opportunity to help people succeed in this highly distributed and increasingly digitized world,” Soltero stated in the Workspace announcement. “With the right solution in place, people are able to collaborate more easily, spend time on what matters most, and foster human connections, no matter where they are.”