One of the most significant changes brought upon us by the 2020 pandemic was the shift to remote work.
To keep up with the demand for online collaborative tools, Google Workspace (formerly Google Suite) changed. In October 2020, Google Suite (or G Suite) rebranded into Google Workspace.
Continue reading to learn:
Google Workspace: A G Suite Update
It has been a few years since Google’s work-related apps became G Suite. Today, what was once known as the G Suite update is called Google Workspace.
Google Workspace is Google’s set of online productivity tools that include Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Meet. It has everything you need in one place to create, communicate, and collaborate for work.
Like G Suite, Google Workspace differs from Google’s free apps because it provides business services like custom email addresses, increased Gmail and Google Drive storage, customer support, additional security features, and administrative control over accounts.
Google Workspace Apps
- Gmail: Email
- Calendar: Scheduling
- Meet (formerly Hangouts): Group video and audio conferencing
- Chat and Rooms (and soon, Spaces): Team conversations
- Drive: Cloud storage
- Docs: Collaborative word processor
- Sheets: Collaborative spreadsheets
- Slides: Collaborative presentations
- Forms: Customizable forms and surveys
- Keep: Collaborative note-keeping
- Site: Collaborative websites
- Currents (formerly Google+): Digital bulletin board for announcements
On top of those applications, the G Suite update offers additional services.
These are not primary Google Workspace apps, but you may have access to them depending on the plan you have. They are the following:
- Groups and Groups for Business: Email lists and access management
- Cloud Search: Google Workspace search function
- Vault: Data retention and eDiscovery
- Jamboard: Collective visual board
- Voice: Virtual phone system
- Apps Script: Business process automation
- AppSheet: No-code application development
- Classroom: Learning management system
- Domains: Domain registration specific to Google Workspace
But how much do these applications and additional services cost?
Plans and Pricing
Although you can access Google Workspace for free, you will have to pay for plans if you want to access additional features.
Here are the plans that are currently available:
The Business plan is similar to G Suite’s offerings, with the addition of the Business Plus plan. Here are the available options:
- Business Starter: At $6/user/month, users get access to:
- Custom and secure business email
- Video meetings for up to 100 participants
- 30GB cloud storage per user
- Business Standard: For $12/user/month, users get all the perks of the Business Starter plan, plus video meeting support and recording for 150 participants and 2TB of cloud storage per user.
- Business Plus: For $18/user/month, users get all the inclusions of the Business Standard plan, plus video meeting support, recording, and attendance tracking for 250 users and 5TB of cloud storage per user.
The Essentials plan is an option for users that aren’t currently subscribed to Workspace. It’s for users with existing email and calendaring solutions such as Microsoft Office.
The Essentials plan empowers your organization to use and collaborate with Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and other essential Google apps starting at $8/user/month.
The Frontline plan is available to eligible frontline workers. It includes access to core Workspace apps and endpoint management features to secure data on mobile devices. Contact Google Sales to discuss pricing.
Qualified education units, such as K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, can use the free Education Fundamentals plan, which gives educators and students access to Google Classroom. For more advanced features, customers can upgrade plans, starting at $3/month.
Qualified organizations can apply for a free nonprofit plan, which is a basic Workspace plan. Nonprofits can also get a Workspace plan with more advanced features, starting at $3/month.
Upcoming: Individual Plan
In June 2021, Google Workspace announced Individual plans will be available at an introductory rate of $7.99/month. Google will soon offer Individual plans in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, and Japan.
Besides the primary Workspace apps, Individual plans include booking services and email marketing. Individual plans are recommended for small businesses that don’t need to manage multiple accounts, such as solopreneurs or those working part-time on a side hustle.
What’s New in Google Workspace
As a G Suite update, Google Workspace introduces three significant developments:
- An integrated user experience to help teams collaborate more effectively.
- A new brand identity to reflect the way the products work together.
- A new way to get started.
1. Integrated User Experience
The main advantage of the G Suite update is how Google promises to provide users with a more seamless and integrated experience.
According to an employee productivity report, employees usually switch between 35 job-critical applications over 1,100 times a day. Those lost seconds add up to over 60 minutes a day, just navigating through apps.
With that in mind, Google has done everything to integrate communication tool functions, including chat, email, voice, and video calls.
2. New Brand Identity
Google gave its icons a brand-new appearance. The company states it brought out the new look to reflect the G Suite update.
A decade ago, Google created individual applications to perform specific functions. Nowadays, it creates apps that integrate.
The change in look highlights how Google has changed and how different is the way we work today.
3. New Way To Start
New users can sign up for a Workspace account by visiting the pricing page or contacting Google’s Sales team. Customers who sign up online get a free 14-day trial (for up to 10 users) before being billed.
Google Workspace Updates
The important G Suite updates can be grouped under three categories:
- Human Connectivity
- Smart and Safe Work
Improvements to Collaboration
Here are the Google Workspace developments centered on improving collaboration:
1. Smart Canvas
Smart Canvas promises to enhance the Google Workspace experience by making it an “immersive collaboration experience.” The Smart Canvas feature lets you present your screen during a meeting via Meet, start Meets directly from Docs, Sheets, Slides, and edit content in Chat rooms.
2. Interactive Building Blocks
The Interactive building blocks feature aims to connect people, experiences, and events into one seamlessly. The tools include:
- Smart chips: These provide the ability to preview contact details when you tag people outside your organization on a shared file. Google Workspace has also updated smart chips to offer suggestions for files and meetings by typing @. The smart chip feature is coming to Sheets soon.
- Table templates: This feature empowers you to create topic-voting tables, project-tracking tables, and meeting note-taking tables. The template for capturing meeting notes will automatically import information from a calendar invite, including smart chips and attached files.
- Checklists: A feature that lets you assign tasks to team members.
3. New Views
Google Workspace also introduced new ways to view Docs and Sheets.
Google Docs’ pageless format enables you to remove the boundaries of a page to create a surface that expands to the size of whatever device or screen you’re using, making it easier to work with wide tables and large images.
Moreover, you can quickly switch back the page to the original view if you want to save or print it. But the quality of life improvements don’t stop there. Google also added a Timeline View to Sheets to make tracking tasks easier.
Google Workspace also introduced features that help foster human connectivity in remote teams.
1. Meet Picture-in-Picture
Studies have shown that 93% of communication is non-verbal. Therefore, to better understand what the other person is saying, you have to observe their facial expressions and mannerisms.
Meet Picture-in-Picture is a feature that empowers you to see and hear who you’re working with. Initially introduced to Gmail and Chat, meet picture-in-picture will soon be available to Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
2. Google Meet Live Captions and Translations
Google is also introducing live captions and translations in Google Meet. Using Google’s speech-to-text technology, this feature makes meetings accessible to those hard of hearing. It is currently available in five languages — English to Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.
Tools for Working Smarter and Safer
Google Workspace users can also expect features that help users work smarter and safer, such as:
- Assisted writing features in Docs, which includes warnings about offensive language and suggestions on making your writing better.
- Assisted analysis functionality in Sheets, including suggestions to build and troubleshoot formulas.
- New Google Calendar features, including a new event type called Focus Time, which minimizes distractions. Google Calendar is also introducing Time Insights, which shows employees how they’re spending their time.
New Features Coming to Google Workspace
Google continues to improve Google Workspace by introducing new updates and features, such as:
- Emoji reactions in Docs
- Moderation controls on iOS and Android apps
- Google Meet Companion Mode
Final Thoughts: G Suite Updates — Introducing Google Workspace
Remote work is here to stay.