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.
Chat (rooms) updates:
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.