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Heads up, Bill Gates.

Yesterday Google announced that its collection of productivity apps, formerly known as G Suite, is getting a full makeover.

The suite of applications, which includes Gmail, Docs, Meet, Sheets, and Calendar, will be renamed "Google Workspace" and will come with a new look, enhanced features, and updated pricing tiers.

WFH Lifestyle

Image Credit: Getty Images

Suite Emotion
Part of the change is purely cosmetic-new, matching logos with Google's signature color palate.  The thrust of the update involves more integration between the applications to allow for more collaborative workflow.  For instance:

  • Users editing a Google document will be able to open a video chat while collaborating.
  • When the name of a colleague is mentioned in a document, other users will be able to hover over the name to find their contact information.

Javier Soltero, the VP in charge of Google Workspace, claimed: "This is the end of the 'office' as we know it."  A bold claim in 2020.

Strategy Backdrop: Google's Gmail and Drive have long-been a hit with consumers, but for business users, they have never fully gained traction against Microsoft and Office 365: 

  • According to Gartner, Google had an 11.5% share in the email and document authoring software market in 2019, up just 1% from the year before.
  • Microsoft enjoyed the other 87.6% of the market.

Big Tech Troubles
The rollout of Google Workspace comes at a delicate moment for big tech.

Yesterday the House Judiciary Subcommittee released a scathing, 450-page report filled with accusations of monopolistic and otherwise anticompetitive behavior.  Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Alphabet are all in the cross-hairs. 

Among other misdeeds, the report accuses Google of manipulating users to shut out rival products during the pandemic. 

The report says, "More recently, as remote work became commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google attempted to manipulate users into using its Google Meet videoconferencing tool instead of upstart competitor Zoom."  

As anyone who has joined a Zoom call from Google knows, that is true.  Now, $1,500-an-hour lawyers will figure out if such behavior is anticompetitive.