Google has announced rebranding and redesign for their suite of office apps, with rebranding of G Suite with a new name – Google Workspace. The new branding encompasses Gmail, Docs, Meet, Sheets and Calendar and some new features have been designed to make those products feel more integrated with each other.
Google will be changing their pricing tiers a bit, adding the new ‘Business Plus’ level with device management features.
For example, a Chat window can spawn a new document for everyone in the group without a new tab. In Google Docs, users can instantly start a video call in the same window for everybody who is active in the document.
Microsoft has been working on the idea to blow up separate apps into little pieces that can be embedded in other places. Google is launching similar features in Google Workspace and its a sign that maybe Google is serious about challenging Microsoft. The press release quote from the VP of Google Workspace, Javier Soltero states that this is the end of ‘office’ as they know it.
Google has taken some steps in this direction – the integration of Google Meet into Gmail is one of them. Google now hopes to draw more users with the convenience of fully integrated services that don’t send users to look for another tab. Its not that everything is going to live inside the Gmail tab on the desktop but the work surface is used by someone would be able to include elements from other work surfaces.
A few examples of this kind of integration will be available from today. Google Workspace apps would let users bring up small previews of other documents embedded on the thing they are working. Google will increase the use of ‘smart chips, that are little contact cards popping up when a user @-mentions someone in a document.
A feature of making a doc directly from a Chat window or start a video call from within a presentation will roll out in the coming few weeks or months. The changes will be available later for non-business customers.
All these are completely desktop-centric and are focused on Google apps inside web browsers like Chrome. Beyond the inclusion of Meet into Gmail, other mobile apps of Google won’t be tightly integrated to start.
Google is changing the inconography for Google Workspace apps. There might be a worldwide revolt on the changing of Gmail icon from its normal red M to a multicolored one.
Soltero says that Google has no intention to reduce support for third-party apps in Google Workspace. If any group uses a mix of Google services, Slack, Asana, Zoom or others, nothing will change there. The new integrations and less tab-hopping shows that Google expects that more users would start using more of its products instead of other alternatives.
On the other hand, these changes are unlikely to knock anytime soon at Microsoft Office. If thought as a statement of intent than a frontal assault, there has been faster and more substantial updates in G Suite in the first year in charge of Soltero than it had in other years. It clearly looks like Google is putting resources and getting ready to have the fight with Microsoft Office.