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Google Workspace: The Upgraded Version of G Suite

Google Workspace is the rebranded version of the well-trusted collaboration and communications platform, G Suite. Like its predecessor, Workspace aims to be a one-stop-shop for all things related to remote working arrangements and productivity. The program’s applications extend beyond email to include documents, file storage, calendars, chat and messaging tools, and so much more.

Besides offering the complete toolkit for work, the toolkit programs have been improved with the latest algorithms to help users develop better content and easily integrate with other software. Regardless of your use case for a productivity toolkit being for personal, educational, or business-related, Google Workspace is the all-in-one, affordable service that you need.

 

Google Workspace
Photo by Google via Google Cloud

 

What is Google Workspace?

Google Workspace is an online productivity platform that hosts a wide variety of signature applications created by Google. The platform was originally known to the public as GSuite, but in October 2020, Google incorporated some changes into the lineup of their software then rebranded the platform as Google Workspace. Currently, the program contains the same set of productivity apps previously available through GSuite. That includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Google also recently incorporated Google Meet along with other business-related software into the standard packages.

 

What Can It Do?

The entirety of the program is cloud-based, which means users from different locations can access software and files remotely with a standard Gmail account. The majority of the software in the platform makes use of advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence to improve the user experience and functionality of its programs.

For example, the Gmail email platform makes use of a combination of smart algorithms that can sort emails automatically according to categories such as promotional, personal, or urgent. Other newly-incorporated algorithms are also intended to help users maximize online tools in order to create quality documents and other files. New algorithms will make it easier for users to add contacts to their contacts list, preview documents using in-document links. It will also allow them to collaborate on multiple documents shared through secure chat rooms with colleagues.

 

Privacy matters

Google takes user privacy and data security matters seriously. And as per legal mandate, the company has established a security management system for Google Workspace that has been certified as ISO/IEC 27001 complaint. Other Google-based services, including the Google Cloud Platform, Chrome, and the Google Common Infrastructure, also received the same certification. Google Workspace is compatible with a wide range of devices including computers, smartphones, and tablets.

 

What are the Key Workspace Productivity Apps?

Google Productivity Apps
Photo by lauren mancke via unsplash

 

Google Workspace is home to various productivity applications that people can use to create work-related and personal documents and files. All of the productivity and communication apps are integrated into the cloud system, making them accessible to other people for editing and collaboration. They are also easily transmissible over Gmail, which is the main software for communication. Other software like Google Currents, Keep, and Sites are considered as add-ons because they are not part of the essential package. They have their own specific function to improve upon the standard package. If you are searching for productivity tools for your business, look no further than these Google Workspace productivity apps.

 

Gmail

GMail
Photo by solen feyissa via unsplash

 

Gmail is at the forefront of the Google software line.  The software is one of the most trusted and most accessible email providers in the world. It’s also currently the default email provider of 1.8 billion people globally. More than just an email service provider, Gmail automatically sorts your emails according to their subject and urgency with the help of algorithms. Gmail also partnered with writing assistant Grammarly to help you find the right words as you draft your emails. All of the emails that you will send and receive will be stored safely in cloud storage, from where you can access them using any device or web browser. Gmail also recently incorporated Google Meet and Google Chat into its sidebars, which should allow you to start a video call or chat with anyone in your contacts. Both individual consumers and businesses can benefit from Gmail’s dynamic and secure platform.

 

Google Calendar

Google Calendar
Photo by abigail via Google Calendar

 

Google Calendar is an interactive, all-around calendar that will help you manage your busy work schedules and personal appointments. The calendar offers a quick and logical way to populate your calendar with important events and meetings. The calendars are always presented visually, and the process for adding appointments is both intuitive and straightforward.

You can also set reminders for upcoming activities that will send your phone or computer a notification to let you know what’s next. Google Calendar is flexible enough to accommodate personal schedules and team schedules. You can easily share the calendar with other members of the team to synchronize your team schedules and allow them to receive notifications about upcoming meetings, deadlines, and more. It’s also possible to create multiple calendars for different projects across different teams to help you always stay on top of your busy schedules.

 

Google Drive

Google Drive
Photo by Google Drive via Google

 

Google Drive is an advanced cloud-based file storage service that allows automatic synchronization and sharing across devices. The program allows for the collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and other types of documents. You can upload any document into Google Drive, then share it with others via a unique URL link generated when you request file-sharing options. The user sending the file can choose whether the recipient can view, edit, or simply comment on the file.

Google Drive automatically offers users 15GB of free storage upon creating a Gmail account. The free storage option first came along almost fifteen years ago and seemed too good to be true at the time. However, Google maintained the free storage and also expanded the options for storage for a maximum of 30TB. If you want to learn more about the features of Google Drive, check out this comprehensive guide to Google Drive. 

 

Google Docs

Google Docs
Photo by Google Docs via sites.google

 

Google Docs is a word document creation service that comes free with a standard Google account. The program’s main purpose is for creating word-based documents online while collaborating with other team members in real-time. A special feature tracks the revisions made to the document and indicates who made the changes.

Users editing the document are assigned a specific color to mark the areas they edited. Besides allowing multiple people to edit files simultaneously, the program also allows the owner of the file to specify the access of the individuals with whom the file is being shared with. Recent updates to the software have incorporated some form of machine learning to allow users to do more with each document. Examples would include the Explore feature, which searches for specific keywords or phrases in the document. Another would be Action items which allow users to assign tasks for other users.

 

Google Sheets

Google Sheets
Photo by abigail via Google Sheets

 

Google Sheets is a spreadsheet program used for storing and organizing data sets of all kinds. The program allows users to create and edit numerical, financial, or word files online while collaborating with users in real-time. The program is very similar to the native Microsoft Office Excel in terms of appearance and functions. It has the same simple interface and minimalistic design and the same blank rows and columns of cells.

However, Google Sheets certainly exceeds Excel in terms of collaboration. Google Sheets has the same collaborative features as the rest of the applications, and the files can be shared with other users through a URL link. The owner of the file also retains the right to choose the editing capacity of the recipients. However, compared to Docs, the Google Sheets might take more effort to get used to, especially since it offers complicated mathematical and financial computations.

 

Google Slides

Google Slides is a presentation maker very similar in function to Microsoft PowerPoint. Presentations are very useful for presenting information and telling stories using pictures and summarized text. The program features slide templates with basic transitions that follow the logical progression of presentations.

It also offers a wide variety of animations and multimedia content culled from the internet to make presentations more lively and presentable. The program has its own media content offerings to use as backgrounds or templates. It also offers design tools to help users create visually stunning and symmetrical slides. Google also added some interactive features that include posting a URL where viewers can submit questions to the presenter. This will allow the presenter to view questions and answer them during or after the presentation. There’s also a YouTube search tool that allows users to add videos to the slides.

 

Google Meet

Google Meet
Photo by Google Meet via meet.google

 

Google Meet is a video conferencing tool used mostly for work purposes. The software replaced Google Hangouts as the main video conferencing tool attached to Gmail. Meet used to be an exclusive program for premium business subscribers. However, Google switched up the policy and made it freely accessible to anyone with a Gmail account. The program makes use of a simple and modern interface that is very easy to use, even for those who are less adept at technology.

Starting a conference call relies on one thing-the access link. This link needs to be shared with other intended participants who need to click on the link or dial-in the number to join the conference. Currently, the maximum number of people that Google Meet can accommodate within a single conference is 250. Nevertheless, it does come with file, image, and real-time screen-sharing to make up for this.

 

Google Forms

Google Forms
Photo by abigail via Google Forms

 

Google Forms is a free form builder tool that users can use to create survey questionnaires for online dissemination. The program offers a pretty basic set of features that are intended for simple and straightforward survey questions. Each survey must have a title and a brief set of instructions for the survey respondents. The forms are organized into sections. For each section, you can choose the question type (i.e., multiple-choice, drop-down, or short answer responses).

There are plenty of controls for setting limitations on what the acceptable responses should be. There’s also automatic scoring for responses, which tallies responses on a separate, downloadable Google Sheet. You can also ask respondents to upload a file to your survey, but you won’t have the ability to accept payments nor create image or video-based questions for your responses.

 

Google Keep

Google Keep
Photo by Google Keep via Google

 

Google Keep is a note-taking software that auto-saves all your notes and syncs them across devices. The Take a Note button lets you create a simple note within a few clicks. You will also have the option to choose the type of note that you make, whether that be checkboxes, reminders, or image-based notes. Like the other software on the list, users can easily share Google Keep notes with other users via email. However, sharing the notes gives the recipients editing privilege.

If you want to configure editing controls, you would first have to convert it to document format. If you so please, it’s also possible to add reminders to existing notes and set alarms for them on weekly, monthly, or custom set intervals. You can also customize notes with different colors and labels.

 

Google Sites

Google Sites
Photo by Google via Google Cloud

 

Google Sites is a website authoring and hosting service. The platform allows users to create their own websites for personal or business use. The users need to provide a unique domain name for the URL, after which they can choose from website templates that they need to fill with images, texts, and links.

Some users have complained that the number of templates is too small for a choose-your-own-adventure type of platform. But to be fair, it does offer plenty of options for users to modify each template’s layout and design. Users can customize the template according to their choice of colors, font styles, image, and text layout, etc. More than one person can work on each site, and it also allows for an existing website to be copied and turned into a Google site. Users can migrate existing websites to the platform for backup purposes, renovation, or complete migration.

 

Google Currents

Google Currents
Photo by Google via Google Workspace

 

Google Currents is an enterprise-level communication tool for managing communication channels within large groups. The software’s main purpose is to provide an external platform where organizations can share information without flooding the already-overused Gmail. A significant feature is called streamline content composition, a feature that lets users tag posts and add attachments or images to their posts. Others are then able to comment, provide feedback, or ask questions.

Posts appear through a home stream, which the program automatically sorts according to relevance, importance, or chronology. Moderators can also set the program to prioritize posts made by organizational leaders. The software also allows assigned content administrators to create customized streams targeting specific groups of employees or the whole organization. These are practically mini-pages within the company thread. The website also relies on special algorithms to provide statistical feedback on how various content is being used.

 

Special Software for Business Use

Chrome Enterprise
Photo by Google via Chrome Enterprise

 

The software we’ve discussed are some of the essential software that Google offers for free across the board. But for businesses that are in need of specialized services and tools, the basic toolkit is barely scratching the surface. In response to these issues, Google created specialized services and device packages to meet specific business needs. An example would be a set of video conference cameras and tools intended for large-scale, professional video conferences.

Google Meet can’t handle a conference of over a thousand people in attendance, and it will definitely not be able to handle the audio and video setup for a conference that large. Google also offers pecial services and devices to meet special business needs. Some of their optional service packages include the Jamboard, Chrome Enterprise, Google Voice, and AppSheet.

 

New Workspace Features

Workspace Features
Photo by fauxels via pexels

 

When Google rebranded the G Suite platform into Google Workplace, they had the full intention of improving its overall features and integrating its services into a unified experience. Integration would mean that the separate software for email, chat, voice calling, and content management should be more accessible within each app without moving the apps around.

Besides searching for new ways to integrate the Workspace software, Google is also working towards improving their applications’ functional design. Google has already successfully incorporated a number of useful changes to the platform, and they are planning more useful features and developments in the future. Eventually, we might even see the program team up with more software such as project management software Asana or Trello. 

 

Linked Previews

Link Previews
Photo by pixabay via pexels

 

The use of links within documents is a common practice to provide more information about a topic. However, most links are entirely useless on the page where they’re posted since you won’t have a way of knowing what they’re about. Using plenty of links in a document can be disruptive or distracting, especially if the viewer has to open up all the links which can lead to an overcrowded browser tab.

This is why Google created a link preview feature for Google Docs. allows document readers to get an automated summary about the link to help them decide whether to open the link or not. Most URLs are hard to decipher, so this feature should provide some information by including the title, description, and main image of the article or publication about the link. As for linked Drive files, it may display the owner and latest activity of the owner.

 

Smart Compose

Document Collaboration
Photo by dan counsell via unsplash

 

Smart Compose is a new grammar checker service for Docs. The service automatically corrects errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word choice as you type in the document. The feature’s objective is to help people produce high-quality and professional content with as few grammatical and spelling errors as possible.

The feature takes off from the writing assistant Grammarly which can detect writing errors using advanced algorithms. Smart Compose is also available for comments to help users write contextually accurate comments. The algorithm analyzes your words as you type and will present suggestions in light grey. You will need to click on the tab button for desktop and swipe right for mobile to accept a suggestion. Google has automated Smart Compose, but users can disable the function through the Tools feature under the software.

 

Out of Office Information

Out of Office
Photo by skylar kang via pexels

 

This new feature notifies team members collaborating on a document when a member is out of the office for that particular day. For example, a notification stating “Jack Sparrow is out of office – back on Wed, Jan 27” will appear when you reply to that particular person’s comment. It will also appear if you mention the person in a public comment on the document.

If you mention a user who happens to be out of the office, the program will generate a small banner that indicates how long the person will be gone and when they’ll be back. This feature also applies to situations when multiple people are out of the office. An info icon on each banner allows other members of a team to learn more about the leave schedule of each individual. The out of office feature is automatically enabled for both desktop and mobile applications.

 

Document Collaboration Within Rooms

Many workspaces collaborate on a wide variety of projects at a time, which produces a whole bunch of documents. The documents’ accumulation can eventually cause problems for the teams, especially if they do not have a system to manage them. Situations like these can easily lead to the loss of files, unmet deadlines, and overall confusion within teams.

In order to address this issue, Google created a way for people on the same team or project to collaborate on multiple documents within a single chat room. This system will help reduce the complexity of having multiple active projects simultaneously. This feature will also reduce the chances of document loss or misplacement. When it comes to addressing an organization’s need for an organized digital workplace, this feature can definitely go a long way.

 

Picture-in-Picture

Photo in Photo
Photo by cottonbro via pexels

 

Google recently introduced a new feature in Chrome that allows users to watch videos in a floating window. This picture-in-picture function allows users to play videos in the background watching while interacting with other sites or applications. They launched a similar feature, but for an entirely different purpose. Google is applying a similar concept to Gmail and Chat to allow users the option to see and hear the people they’re working with while actively chatting with them.

It’s similar to a Zoom conference call, except that it’s still within the context of a chat room. Google also plans to roll out this feature for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. They intend to allow users to experience the closest thing to a human interaction they could have while working together online.

 

Custom Background in Meet

Custom Background in Meet
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Google has recently announced that they’re rolling out a custom background feature for Google Meet. This feature should allow users to join a video conference call to cover up or change their background. Users can choose from the selection of images provided by Google or otherwise upload their image to use as background. With this new feature, users can choose from Google’s custom images. They can choose from among abstract paintings or landscape photos, which will help to hide your background.

Google released this feature following their release of other features which involves removing background noises or blurring your background in the program. It’s particularly useful when you need to attend a conference call inside your house, as it can help hide distracting or embarrassing things in the background. Whatever your reason, this feature is sure to come in handy for real-time Meet conferences.

 

Screen Sharing Privacy Settings

Picture in Picture
Photo by burst via pexels

 

Online presentations for educational or work-related concerns are increasingly becoming the norm. In the majority of cases for online presentations, the person handling the presentation loses his/her privacy when email notifications and other notifications unexpectedly pop up. These incidents can be awkward or embarrassing, especially if the notifications that appeared are personal.

Google tried to create a solution for this problem by adding a feature that hides the content of pop-up web notifications. Google designed the program to temporarily block all incoming notifications from email, Google Chat, and third-party applications during your presentation. The system will wait until you’re done with the presentation to display the notifications. This is an automatic feature that runs each time you screen share using the software.

 

 What are the Different Options for Subscription?

Subscription Options
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Most of the software on Google Workspace is available at no cost to consumers who have a free Gmail account. However, these packages are often not comprehensive enough to meet the workplace needs of a larger organization. And if we’re being honest, 15GB of free storage space isn’t all that large when you have plenty of documents to store and share. This is why Google created business packages for organizational use. Aside from providing standard access to productivity software, the program also adds enterprise features such as a custom email address at a domain (e.g., @yourcompany.com).

It also includes options for much larger storage spaces in Google Drive. The packages also include additional administrative and advanced settings, as well as 24/7 customer support for your business. Google designed a few packages designed for different needs and budgets, and these are their contents per the updated Google Workspace pricing packages.

 

Business Starter

  • 30 GB cloud storage per user
  • Video calls can accommodate a maximum of 100 participants
  • It comes with security controls, standard support, custom business email
  • Subscription costs at USD 4.20 per month per user (discounted price)

 

Business Standard

  • 2TB cloud storage per user
  • Video calls can accommodate a maximum of 100 participants with a recording function
  • It comes with security controls, standard support, custom business email
  • Subscription costs at USD 9.60 per month per user (discounted price)

 

Business Plus

  • 5TB of cloud storage per user
  • Video calls can accommodate a maximum of 250 participants per video call
  • Video calls also come with recording and attendance tracking functions
  • It comes with security controls, standard support, custom business email
  • It also comes with additional access to Google Vault for eDiscovery, which has been excluded from other plans
  • Subscription costs at USD 18 per month per user

 

Enterprise

  • Custom storage (the customer gets to dictate the amount of storage they need)
  • Video calls can accommodate a maximum of 250 participants per video call
  • Video calls also come with recording, attendance tracking, noise cancellation, and in-domain live streaming functions (complete set of functions)
  • It comes with advanced security controls with special encryption for emails
  • It comes with advanced security and compliance controls not found in other packages
  • Prices vary according to the level of customization and amount of storage chosen by the customer

 

Final Thoughts About the Rebranding of G Suite into Google Workspace

Final Thoughts on Google Workspace
Photo by chenspec via pixabay

 

Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is a superb choice for remote work arrangements in organizations. The rebranded platform not only features the complete set of applications from the original G Suite they also now include chat and video conferencing tools. Google has also made improvements to the toolkit’s individual software to help teams communicate and collaborate better.

Another thing we learned about the crossover is that Google actually listens to concerns pertaining to their software and is actually making attempts to fix those issues. Google is also attempting to integrate both internal and external productivity apps to simplify collaboration across teams. Google continues to improve the Google Workspace platform and users can expect more useful updates in software and the inclusion of additional software to enhance workplace productivity, efficiency, and digital organization.

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