Google Workspace – the new and even more collaborative G Suite

A new upgrade helps collaboration in a world where “office workers no longer have impromptu discussions at the coffee machine."
6 October 2020

Google Cloud symbol displayed at their headquarters in Silicon Valley. Source: Shutterstock

Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Meet – Google’s cloud-first office toolset is a staple for many a business, enabling teams to share and collaborate on projects from anywhere in real-time.

Now, Google is bringing this set of collaboration and productivity tools closer together in a service rebranded as Worspace.

According to Google Workspace head, Javier Soltero in a blog post, features of the service will help teams collaborate better in a world of work where “office workers no longer have impromptu discussions at the coffee machine or while walking to meetings together.”

One of the key features of the newly-aligned collection of apps is a new chat-like interface where users can dynamically create and work on documents alongside other guests.

“This makes it easy to share content and directly work together with those outside your organization, and ensure that everyone has access and visibility to the same information,” said Soltero.

A collaborative chat room. Source: Google

Ahead of the announcement, Soltero said that with the new upgrade to what was launched in 2016 as G Suite, Google wanted to ensure the service customers use is what they buy.

“By selecting Google Workspace,  we get the brand association with Google, which is really important to us,” he said. “These products are flagship products for Google itself — and the ability to actually describe the product in the same way, whether it’s to a buyer or to a user.”

Among features to come in the months ahead is the ability to create and work on documents with guests in chat rooms and to preview linked files in Docs, Sheets, and Slides without needing to open them into a new tab.

Users can also @mention other team members and see contact details in a ‘smart chip’ and suggest actions such as emailing them or inviting them into a Meet call.

On Google Meet, users can already run Gmail and Chat with a picture-in-picture mode, but this feature will soon roll out to the rest of Workspace – Docs, Sheets, and Slides. “Where before, you could only see the file you were presenting, now you’ll get all those valuable nonverbal cues that come with actually seeing someone’s face,” Soltero said.

In April this year, amid peak videoconference hype, Meet launched allowing users to create video meetings of up to 100 people.

The company claimed it was targeting personal use just as much as in business with Soltero then describing the service as catering to the “blurred” boundaries of work and home life.

“We’re in the middle of a significant worldwide shift impacting communication from the workspace to schools to the home. People want familiar, secure tools that they can use across all facets of their lives.

“Google Meet can offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for your online birthday party, and the security needed for a video call with your doctor.”

Hints at its enterprise sway were found in repeated references to Meet’s security features. While Zoom saw a surge in users at the beginning of the pandemic, it faced intense scrutiny in regard to flaws in its privacy configurations early this year.