It seems if Google isn’t killing off a product, it’s rebranding one instead. The company announced via a blog post that it was dropping the G Suite brand, formerly Google Apps, in favour of the new ‘Google Workspace’ branding.
While it may seem odd at first, the new Workspace brand better represents what Google is trying to do with its work products. The best example would be the changes Google has made and is making to Gmail, one of its most popular apps.
First up, Gmail received a slight redesign earlier this year. It mostly focused on shoehorning Google Meet — itself a rebrand of Hangouts Meet — into Gmail. For many, Gmail gained an unsightly bottom bar with a tab for Meet as part of the redesign. For the average person who just uses Gmail for email, it’s a pain (but thankfully you can turn it off). But if you use
G Suite Google Workspace, having quick access to email and video conferencing tools in one space is incredibly helpful.
Google was also working on a big refresh for Gmail on desktop that included access to Google Chat, Rooms and Meet all from one place, collaborative editing of Google Docs right from Gmail and more. Google says the new integrated Gmail experience is now generally available to paying Google Workspace customers. In the coming months, it will roll out to consumers as well. All in all, it seems like the design changes the focus from ‘Gmail is for email’ to ‘Gmail is for getting work done.’
Redesigned icons and new features on the way
On top of that, Google’s blog post teased some other changes coming to Google Workspace, including redesigned icons with a unified style. That means several Google Workspace products, from Gmail to Google Docs to Google Calendar, will gain new icons that leverage Google’s classic four colours — red, green, blue and yellow. These new icons will roll out to users in the coming weeks.
Redesigned icons won’t be the only changes, however. Google plans to roll out new features like picture-in-picture (PiP) Google Meet videos to Docs, Sheets and Slides. That will allow Google Workspace users to collaborate on documents while also video calling with coworkers.
Google Workspace seems like an effort to communicate that G Suite is no longer a group of independent Google sites for productivity but instead a unified experience. As Engadget points out, this likely comes as a response to increased pressure from competitors like Slack, Microsoft, Zoom and Facebook. While all those companies offer communications tools, Microsoft is likely the biggest contender in the workplace. Teams, for example, does an excellent job integrating all of Microsoft’s work products into one place. That makes it easy for employees to use since they can quickly get to all the tools they need without hopping through several tabs or apps.
Google Workspace, then, is the search giant’s attempt to put all its services into one interface for users. And for the thousands of businesses relying on Gmail and Google’s productivity software, it could keep them from switching to a competitor.
Those interested in learning more about all the changes coming to Google Workspace can check out the full blog post here.