During the pandemic and lockdown, Google has made an effort to make some of its apps more appealing to those working from home, such as adding more features to Meet in order to compete with the popularity of Zoom. The company is not stopping there though, as it is now rebranding its G Suite offering to Google Workspace.
The announcement was made earlier today, with Google Workspace said to be better version of G Suite that focuses on enhanced integration between different applications in a bid to take on Microsoft Office and its dominance within the enterprise environment.
This is not the first time that Google has attempted to make G Suite more appealing, but it looks like this might be one of the biggest changes that the company has made to this ecosystem in quite some time.
“Work is no longer associated to a physical place we go to,” said Javier Soltero, VP and GM of Google Workspace told Forbes regarding the announcement.
“Work will take place everywhere in between, and offices will take on a different role,” he added.
To that end some of the new features being highlighted reflect this thinking, with an example being the ability to add picture-in-picture functionality for Google Meet into apps like Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, without having to switch between tabs or open windows in order to see your work colleagues.
Added to this will be the ability to create collaborative documents within Google Rooms, which negates the need to switch tabs or open up a new document within Google Docs itself.
App icons are also getting a slight redesign, which you can see in the image pasted below, but it remains to be seen what kind of in-app changes occur to the UI within Google Workspace.
At the time of writing, no official rollout for the change to the new version of G Suite has been noted, so it is still unclear when current users will be ported over to the latest rebrand.
That said, Google does say that the rollout will take a phased approach over the next several weeks.
What we do know, however, is that Google is hoping that the Workspace rebrand will gain it more users as lockdown continues and remote working is embraced by more business. The company has already seen Meet succeed as a result, with CEO Sundar Pichai enthusing that 3 million new users a day are joining to the videoconferencing app.
While a spike new users is no doubt good news, whether Workspace will be able to disrupt the dominance of Office is another scenario altogether, especially as Microsoft too is looking at more ways to integrate collaboration into its suite of apps and tools.
As for how much Google Workspace will cost you, we do not have local pricing at this stage, but can list the tiers and cost for the United States.
On that front Google has a Business Starter and Business Standard option at $6 (~R99.89) and $12 (~R199.77) respectively, both of which match up with the current Basic and Businesses options on G Suite in terms of features and functionality.
There is also a premium Business Plus tier at $18 (~R299.66) which adds more compliance and security elements to the mix, but crucially does not provide access to the full suite of enterprise-focused features.
Perhaps the most important element of the announcement and different tiers, is that a change is in the offing for the free version, with Google simply stating that something new is on the way in coming months.
Either way plenty of changes are afoot when it comes to Google Workspace.