Google has announced some changes to its Workspace suite of apps and services, the service is formerly known as G Suite, including making it available for free to anyone with a free account from the company. The core philosophy behind Workspace is to enable deeper collaboration between users. Google says: There are more than three billion users of Workspace applications. Many people will soon have the option to switch to Google's more modern platform for Gmail, Docs, and Chat.
And they can all be combined into one tab more easily, for example with chats sliding left to reveal a shared spreadsheet. The move is also related to the efforts of the new company Smart Canvas, which is also designed to connect its various applications via smart slides. Google is now officially offering the setting to run Google Chat for all users. It is a new setting within Gmail.
With the switch, Chats should now be an option for everyone, which can include direct messages and chat rooms. But Google is also introducing new terms to go along with the ad. Chat rooms are announced as spaces. The spaces are similar to a chat room, but Google wants to separate it into its own high-level communication form alongside Gmail, Chat, and Meet.
Google is adding some new features like improved threads, more emoji reactions, moderation tools, and discoverable spaces. Google promises to release a simplified and flexible user interface for Spaces this summer. The company is launching a new category called Google Workspace Individual at $9.99 per month, which gives users more workspace tools without requiring them to set up their own domain or a dedicated email address.
Google also made the history of Companion Mode, which encourages people in the meeting room to turn on their cameras as well so remote workers don't feel left out. Companion Mode should be rolling out in September for desktop PCs and soon for mobile devices.
Google also said it is introducing a progressive web app for Google Workspace in September. In theory, this could make it easier for Gmail users to get their email and other Google apps as if they were actual desktop apps rather than just browser tabs.
Workspace has been updated rapidly over the past few months, which is a possible indication that the company intends to compete seriously with Microsoft. Google's strategy goes beyond just improving its products, but rather integrating them together more tightly.
And soon Gmail users will find prompts to try other Workspace products. Placing the Chat, Meet, and Rooms (soon to become Spaces) buttons at the bottom of the world's most popular email app certainly increase usage.