Google has announced a revamp of its G suite productivity package with a new name and much deeper integration of the products offered. Now called Google Workspace, Google wants you to think of the business-friendly system as your main way of getting things done, all without having to jump between screens.
“This is the end of the ‘office’ as we know it,” said Javier Soltero, Google’s VP and general manager of Google Workspace. “From here on out, teams need to thrive without meeting in person, protect their time to focus on the most impactful work, and build human connection in new ways. Google Workspace gives people a familiar, fully integrated user experience that helps everyone succeed in this new reality – whether you’re in an office, working from home, on the frontlines, or engaging with customers.”
Right off the bat, each app is getting a new icon. This includes Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Meet and Sheets. Their designs are also being updated with some new UI elements, but the most important of those changes lie in the fabric of each app.
Now, depending on where you are in each app, you can invoke certain elements of other apps. For instance, you can create a new document with a group of people off to the side of an office Chat session. Another example: you can start up a group Meet call with all the people watching a presentation in Slides. I’m sure there will be a few occasions where you won’t have to leave a single app for hours on end to get work done. It seems like Google is really gonna start tying all of its services together.
Admittedly, this is gonna take some time to roll out. Google says some of these features won’t reach non-business users for months. I’m not sure exactly what the timeframe looks like for business-only users, but I’d assume it’ll still take some time for each feature to roll out enmasse.
What will roll out in a much quicker manner are smaller integrations like the ability to preview documents in certain apps and @ mentioning someone. Features like that will be available immediately. But the more ambitious offerings will need to take some time.
There’s no question that this rebranding is a response to COVID-19 and the way organizations have been forced to work. Google, almost instantaneously, began improving G Suite for customers with improved video calling, a better productivity experience in Gmail, and better collaborative tools like virtual whiteboarding. The new Google Workspace builds on that foundation and increasingly focuses on integrating each product by plugging certain features into separate apps. Whether this will be enough for businesses to leave behind something like Microsoft Office remains to be seen, but I’d argue against it since Workspace still isn’t quite as powerful as Office.
The new Google Workspace rebranding and basic feature set should be rolling out for all users now.