Google have announced plans to overhaul their G Suite service, bringing it more into line with services such as Slack, which have become popular recently.
Gmail and G Suite are a leading email provider for many people across the world, but they operate largely independently of Google chat, Rooms and Meet. The new design will look to integrate all those features, making it an all-in-one platform for working from home.
That is something that is becoming increasingly popular, with many big companies including Silicone Valley giants, realizing during the recent situation that working from home is viable and effective. To be productive though, employees must have the right tools and Google’s announcement has clearly shown they understand the needs for change in their popular products.
They have been making changes relevant to WFH over the last few months. Google Meet is now directly accessible from your phone, and they integrated Google Meet with desktop functionality. Google Chrome also got an update to make it faster and more robust for the new WFH situation, but a complete overhaul will bring its services in line with programs such as Slack, which have proven to be very popular as remote working platforms, even before the challenges 2020 presented.
Slack is a multi-user engagement platform that allows instant chat between members, as well as providing unique meeting places for video calls, phone calls and group discussions. There is also a function to send larger files between users too, something that is now very important across these work platforms. The many ways to share files have been outlined by Box, where the company explains how emails have adapted to larger files through creating shared links. This allows users to send ‘big videos, high-res images, and graphics-heavy decks without worrying about server space, email file maximums, or whether the recipient has the right software to open it’. That would seem to be one of the functions Google needs to incorporate, with limits still imposed on simple file transfers between two email addresses.
Regular users of Gmail need not worry just yet though; this added functionality might be a bit over the top for the casual users who just have it for personal correspondence, but it won’t be landing in the consumer version of the program at the moment. The updates will initially arrive on G Suite as a preview and will eventually roll out properly to G Suite users as we move towards 2021. There are no firm promises regarding G Mail, which may or may not be a relief to the average user.
The move further demonstrates the seismic shifts being seen in attitudes to remote working and home working around the world. An industry sprung up at the end of the last decade whereby digital nomads could use such functionality to work anywhere in the world, but there was still an attitude that office-based workers had to commute and be on hand in physical workspaces. Many big companies have now recognized the potential for home working to cut down on overheads as well as improve employee’s physical well-being and, as such, tech providers are quickly adapting and changing to suit the new normal.