Google Workspace further unifies Gmail, Meet and Chat, while adding new features for remote collaboration .
Image: Google

Google has rebranded G Suite to Google Workspace in an effort to consolidate its workplace productivity tools and align its software suite with the new era of remote work and virtual collaboration.

Google Workspace is a repackaging of Google Cloud’s popular enterprise product and brings a handful of new features to the mix, while acting as a continuation of Google’s recent work to more closely tie together its Gmail, Chat and videoconferencing tools. Google says more than 2.6 billion customers now use Google Workspace on a monthly basis.

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Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, said that the company’s ongoing efforts to make Workspace “the absolute collaboration and communications experience in the world” had amounted to “the single biggest engineering endeavor” across the platform.

In a blog post announcing the rebrand, Soltero said: “This is the end of the ‘office’ as we know it. From here on out, teams need to thrive without meeting in person, protect their time to focus on the most impactful work, and build human connection in new ways.

“Google Workspace gives people a familiar, fully integrated user experience that helps everyone succeed in this new reality – whether you’re in an office, working from home, on the frontlines, or engaging with customers.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic having scattered our usual work huddles and turning the daily commute virtual, Google is making it known that the future of work is remote.

Google Workspace hopes to be the new home for businesses in this tentative new landscape, particularly as many look to extend remote working indefinitely.

While the rebrand appears largely aimed as an effort to solidify Google’s already considerable foothold within the virtual office, Workspace also introduces new features designed to boost collaboration, productivity and human connection across displaced workforces.

This largely builds on Google’s work in bringing Gmail, Meet and Chat into a unified interface. For example, teams can now launch picture-in-picture video chat while collaborating on a Doc, Sheet or Slide, as well as create and edit documents from a Chat room without having to switch tabs. This is designed to bring a more human element back to remote work, Google said, while at the same time making it easier to share, pitch and collaborate on work with people outside of a given organization.

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Also coming to Workspace are link previews – which are fairly self-explanatory and provide a quick glance of the information contained within a link – as well as something Google has labelled ‘smart chips’. These work in a similar fashion and provide a pop-up containing contact details and suggested actions when users ‘@’ mention someone within a document.

The new integrated experience is now generally available to all paying Google Workspace (i.e. G Suite) business customers. The rebrand will be accompanied by a host of fresh, four-color icons for Gmail, Drive, Calendar and Meet, as well as its content creation tools such as Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Consumers will also be catered for, Soltero said. “In the coming months we’ll also be bringing this new experience to consumers to help them do things like set up a neighborhood group, manage a family budget, or plan a celebration using integrated tools like Gmail, Chat, Meet, Docs, and Tasks.”

Google will be bringing Google Workspace to our education and nonprofit customers in the coming months, Soltero added.