The past few months have brought a flurry of changes to Google’s productivity apps. Some of the revamps were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have long been in the works. The culmination of those changes is “Google Workspace.”
It’s both the new name of G Suite and a complete modernization of the company’s productivity offerings that reflects how work is increasingly getting done
The road to Google Workspace
COVID-19 continues to be the catalyst behind some of the many changes in 2020. At work, communication is primarily, if not fully, virtual due to the move away from offices and rise of working from home. Google already had Hangouts Meet, but it became just Google Meet
Google started by making premium features available to all G Suite customers, but then introduced a free version for the public to capitalize on Zoom entering the cultural lexicon. Besides making the service open to anyone with a Gmail account, it’s aggressively adding functionality from background blur and noise cancellation to virtual whiteboarding. It also added a very consumer-friendly Nest Hub Max and Smart Display integration. Google is particularly adding many new features that schools and education customers need for distance learning. Meanwhile, Google’s second big act for 2020 is making Gmail an integrated workspace. It started with Google Meet being integrated into web Gmail, and then Android and iOS. There is now a dedicated tab to see your upcoming calls and quickly start new ones.
In July, Google took this a step further by announcing that Chat and a revamped Slack competitor called Rooms was also coming to Gmail. Furthering the one-stop-shop for work is the ability to edit Docs right in Gmail so that you can collaborate and talk at the same time.
What is Google Workspace
That brings us to today’s announcement. The collective name of the company’s productivity offering is now “Google Workspace.” This might just seem like a rebrand of apps and features that have already been announced, but this is a serious step towards Google modernizing its work platform.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot in the new name.
G Suite — and Microsoft Office — were made for a different era and that’s very much reflected by those brands. Google Workspace head Javier Soltero points out how both connote being in a very traditional box where work is done in an office building.