With businesses changing the way they work because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Google opts to rebrand its business software – again
Alphabet’s Google division has announced a major change to its business suite with the news that it is rebranding ‘G Suite’ to ‘Google Workspace’.
This is not the first time that Google has done this. It introduced the ‘G Suite’ brand back in late 2016 when it renamed ‘Google Apps for Work’ as ‘G Suite’.
Google for years ago said it had done this in order to offer a uniform solution to both consumers and businesses. That move came after it also rebranded all of its cloud services under the ‘Google Cloud’ banner.
This was followed in January 2019 when Google for the first time ever said those changes meant it had to raise the prices it charges customers around the world.
Now four years later, in a world where businesses and organisations are having to adapt to changing working practices due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, Google has announced it is once again rebranding its business software suite in a blog post by Google vice president Javier Soltero.
Soltero noted the unique challenges posed by the pandemic, but explained how these challenges also represent a “significant opportunity to help people succeed in this highly distributed and increasingly digitized world.”
“With the right solution in place, people are able to collaborate more easily, spend time on what matters most, and foster human connections, no matter where they are, wrote Soltero. “That solution is Google Workspace: everything you need to get anything done, now in one place.”
“Google Workspace includes all of the productivity apps you know and love – Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and many more,” he wrote. “Whether you’re returning to the office, working from home, on the frontlines with your mobile device, or connecting with customers, Google Workspace is the best way to create, communicate, and collaborate.”
Google offered the following video explaining the rebranding, found here.
The rebranding also coincided with the launch of features that integrate the various services, such as the ability to have a video chat with co-workers display in a small box at the corner of a document-editing window.
But according to the search engine giant, Google Workspace, introduces three major developments.
First off it is a “new, deeply integrated user experience that helps teams collaborate more effectively, frontline workers stay connected, and businesses power new digital customer experiences.”
Secondly a “a new brand identity that reflects our ambitious product vision and the way our products work together,” and thirdly “new ways to get started with solutions tailored to the unique needs of our broad range of customers.”
“Google Workspace embodies our vision for a future where work is more flexible, time is more precious, and enabling stronger human connections becomes even more important,” wrote Soltero. “It’s a vision we’ve been building toward for more than a decade, and one we’re excited to bring to life together with you.”
It seems that the Covid-19 pandemic has bolstered sales of online business tools, and the two big players (Microsoft and Google) are adapting their solutions to better new workplace realities.
Indeed, Soltero reportedly noted the new name reflected that “work isn’t happening in a physical space that’s called an office anymore.”
At least one expert believes the G Suite rebranding to Google Workspace is key milestone and was a much needed development to combat the domination of Microsoft Teams.
Google’s announcement of the new Google Workspace is much more than just a rebranding of G Suite,” explained Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insight.
“It marks a key milestone in the company’s transformation from providing a collection of loosely integrated collaboration apps towards a seamless collaboration experience,” said Ashenden. “Google introduced its strategy for the product earlier this year, which sees the Gmail UI becoming the ‘home for work’, integrating many of the other features of its collaboration portfolio, such as meetings, chat and content creation, into a single experience.”
“Google is increasingly blurring the lines between these discrete apps – something it desperately needed to do in order to remain relevant and competitive in a market where Microsoft is becoming the runaway leader with Teams,” said Ashenden.
“The new Google Workspace is designed to better support people’s natural workflows, allowing them to shift between different communication and collaboration media in a more natural and coherent way, removing the friction that comes from constantly changing context as you move between apps,” she said. “The individual feature brands – Gmail, Chat and Meet, for example – will remain, but it seems likely that these will be de-emphasised over time as the integrations become more embedded.”
“This has been a major year for Google in the area of collaboration, not least in terms of increased adoption, with monthly active users of the Google Workspace apps up 30 percent in 7 months to 2.6 billion,” said Ashenden. “It’s positive to see the company now getting a clearer handle on its rich portfolio of capabilities – both across the business and consumer markets. However it will need to tread carefully to ensure that blurring the lines between its consumer and business audiences doesn’t impact its trust position with business customers.”
“The Google Cloud branding has long been the focus for this differentiation, but with Google Workspace starting to span both areas it risks creating confusion in the market, and an opportunity that competitors will be quick to pounce on,” she concluded.