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Google rebrands its productivity tools, again, as more people work from home

October 6, 2020, 8:00 AM UTC

Google’s G Suite software, which offers tools such as Gmail, Chat, and Meet, will now be known as Google Workspace and will also incorporate additional features to aid with remote work.

The company said that it had already planned to introduce Google Workspace prior to the coronavirus crisis, but the pandemic created a new sense of urgency. Along with a new name, the software offers users the ability to create new documents within a room in Chat, Google’s Slack-like chatrooms, without having to switch tabs. It will also allow users to videoconference while collaborating on documents, sheets, and slides within the same window. Users will also be able to preview links within documents by hovering their mouse over the linked text.

The new features within Google Workspace will first be available to paying business customers and are then expected to roll out to consumers in the upcoming months.

“The work isn’t taking place in a physical space called an office anymore,” Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, said on a call with reporters. The product is “truly a workspace that brings together all [the] tools.”

Google’s rebrand debuts as Google Cloud, the company’s unit that sells enterprise software, aims to gain more traction as it competes with other big cloud providers like Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure. It also comes as the company tries to fend off competitors like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft, which provides its own suite of remote work tools.  

Google said in March more than 6 million companies paid monthly for its Workspace tools, then under the G Suite umbrella. Now, more than 2.6 billion users across the consumer, enterprise, and education divisions use its tools—though the company didn’t clarify how many of those pay for the services.  

As part of the rebrand, Google is also offering several new tiers to help cater to businesses of different sizes. Its bottom tier of service is called the business starter, and is designed for companies with 300 employees or fewer; it offers employers corporate email for $6 per user. Its top tier offers large corporations enterprise-grade administration controls, advanced security and compliance capabilities, and a suite of productivity features. Google works with its larger customers to determine pricing.

Google has a history of rebranding its tools as it tweaks its marketing strategy. For example, Google’s suite of enterprise products was first named Google Apps for Your Domain in 2006, only to later drop the words “for Your Domain.” Then in 2016, the company rebranded the tools under the name G Suite.

Soltero said the latest rebrand helps the company better associate the programs with Google and also better describes the product itself through the word “Workspace.” He also said the new name serves as a better umbrella for future features and products Google may introduce as more people settle into their new normal of working remotely.

“The idea that we’re able to build and run organizations, governments, financial institutions, any size of business, and do it in a way that doesn’t require a physical presence…will stay with us,” he said.