Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
Google Announces Major G-Suite Updates
Google has announced several updates to its G-Suite offering, which aims to heavily integrate and better secure its teamwork applications. The move represents a clear attempt by Google to directly compete with Microsoft’s office productivity suite, with several of the G-Suite updates mirroring the logical architecture of Office 365.
The G-Suite applications being updated include Gmail (custom business email), Chat (messaging for teams), and Meet (video and voice conferencing). The intent is to bring together the capabilities of video, chat, email, file sharing, and task management within one interface, without the need to switch between applications.
- By far the biggest update is with Gmail, which Google intends to become an integrated workspace.
- Gmail will now integrate with Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Tasks. In essence, Gmail will be the one-stop shop for all of your communication and collaboration needs.
- Within the Gmail web app, a user will be able to group edit documents in real-time while also having simultaneous access to video/voice conferencing, IM, and task management.
- Gmail thus becomes the front-end to many of G-Suite’s productivity applications, similar to how Microsoft Teams functions within Office 365. (Of course, one cannot access Outlook in Microsoft Teams for email, whereas email is still the primary function of Gmail.)
- In Chat, users can share files and tasks, alongside the ability to “pin” tools and messages. Users can also create tasks in Chat.
- Status and availability settings are now featured.
- Chat also now integrates with Salesforce, DocuSign, and Trello.
- Phishing links are flagged in real-time.
- Video calls can be joined from Chat, rather than having to switch applications to Meet.
- Chat messages can be forwarded to your Gmail inbox.
- Chat is also added to the Gmail search engine.
Chat (rooms) updates:
- Creating a “room” is an important function within Chat. Rooms work in a similar fashion to teams and channels within Microsoft Teams.
- In rooms, users now have side-by-side access to shared chat, Drive files, and tasks.
- Meet now integrates with Google productivity applications like Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, Drive, and Tasks.
- There are also new security features, which are being initially rolled out for G-Suite for Education.
- These security features include being able to prevent ejected users from rejoining a meeting and hosts now having the power to choose which attendees can chat or present in the meeting.
Source: SoftwareReviews Google Hangouts Meet Scorecard. Accessed July 21, 2020.
The new design of G-Suite applications is currently only available for G-Suite customers. However, administrators can sign up for an early adopter program. The full rollout is expected by the end of 2020.
Google’s updates are a radical redesign of how the applications within G-Suite interact with each other. In fact, for those who are used to how Office 365 applications integrate, it is almost a bit shocking that G-Suite’s tools have only just begun integrating to a similar capacity. Either way, the move will bolster end-user satisfaction and is certainly indicative of the trend that organizations want as unified a platform as possible for their communication and collaboration needs.
Rationalizing and integrating one’s collaboration toolset into a single, streamlined platform is the driving force behind Info-Tech’s Rationalize Your Collaboration Tools blueprint. G-Suite’s redesign follows this logic: users will now rarely have to leave the Gmail web application to access and perform their everyday workflows.
Of course, for organizations that find themselves tied between G-Suite and Office 365, which is preferable? A defining separation used to be that Office 365’s teamwork apps (Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive) offer a one-stop shop for storage, intranet, file share, video/audio, IM, and so on. With Gmail’s new updates, Google has better positioned itself as a direct competitor to Microsoft in this space.
G-Suite is great for basic online, simultaneous collaboration where the bells and whistles are not required. Moreover, if Gmail is already embedded in company culture, it will be difficult to shift to Outlook, which has a more complex interface. Indeed, given these recent changes to Gmail, which enable users to mostly live out their workflows in this one-stop-shop application, switching away from Gmail will be more difficult.
However, Office 365 has robust, sophisticated applications that offer advanced processing features (useful if you will be using Excel for complex data interpretation or need access to a variety of templates). Moreover, G-Suite does not have a comparable application to the variety of capabilities that SharePoint Online has. With SharePoint Online, you can set up an organizational intranet or a secure content management system, create lists and workflows, track project tasks, supply data to BI dashboards, and more. The closest Google gets to this capacity is with Drive – but Drive falls well short of SharePoint’s functionality.
To help parse out these capabilities and see which suite is right for you, use the aforementioned Rationalize Your Collaboration Tools blueprint. Phase 1 provides a method to help demarcate what key capabilities your organization needs for its communication and collaboration requirements. You will then be able to map these capabilities against either G-Suite or Office 365 to determine which suite best meets your key requirements.
Want to Know More?
On October 8, 2021, BlueJeans by Verizon announced their “Next-Generation BlueJeans” suite and partnership with Google Glass. The Next-Generation suite ties BlueJeans Meetings to two new products: BlueJeans Spaces and BlueJeans Collab Board.
On June 3, 2021, BlueJeans provided an update on its product direction for 2H 2021. BlueJeans is now fully integrated with Verizon One, completing Verizon’s full UCaaS solution.
On May 21, 2021, Cisco briefed on Webex’s security features. This not only included information about the type of administration control for end users when using Webex from any device, but also Cisco’s certifications and compliances more broadly.
This note outlines Info-Tech’s Three C’s of Enterprise Collaboration framework to help buyers effectively navigate the collaboration software marketspace.
With a return to the office looking ever more feasible, organizations need to consider what role web conferencing solutions will play moving forward. This note outlines three trends organizations should be aware of as we move into 2022.
On March 11, 2021, Verizon provided updates to BlueJeans’ product vision and direction for FY2021. BlueJeans experienced dramatic adoption in 2020, particularly for webinars and events, and seeks to offer advanced breakout room features in the future.
On February 24-25, 2021, Zoho held its annual ZohoDay – a conference aimed at communicating the state of the business and product roadmaps. The event coincided with Zoho’s 25th year as a company, testament to Zoho’s long-term business approach: grow organically, have zero debt, zero external investments, remain cashflow positive, and plow cashflow back into the business and customers.
On October 29, 2020, Verizon briefed on BlueJeans’ product vision and direction. This note outlines the new and upcoming features that users can expect from BlueJeans for the rest of 2020 and into 2021. However, with the table stakes margin for features rapidly increasing in the web conferencing marketspace, BlueJeans’ new features are less a way to stand out from the crowd and more as a necessity to keep up.
On November 5, 2020, Cisco briefed on its upcoming virtual legislative session tool Webex Legislate. With a range of features that governing bodies around the globe have desired throughout the extent of the pandemic, Webex Legislate surely becomes the must-have tool for conducting virtual and hybrid sessions – especially if an agency is already leveraging Cisco products.