G Suite rebrands as Google Workspace goes toe-to-toe with Office

G Suite is going through some big changes today, with Google changing the service’s name to Google Workspace. It appears that this change is being made to give a deeper sense of integration among Google’s various productivity apps, and to put it in a better position to challenge Microsoft Office. With more people working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the change is coming at a good time to.

Beyond the name change and the roll out of some new logos – particularly one for Gmail that ditches the old envelope design and goes with a four-color look instead – there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that’s changing here. Google Workspace apps will still work the way they did when they were collectively called G Suite, and most companies should be able to carry on without changing much of anything.

That said, Google still announced some new features that will be rolling out to Workspace users in the near future. Over on the Google Cloud Blog, we’re told that in the coming weeks Workspace users will be able to create and collaborate on new documents with guests in a chat room. You’ll now also be able to preview a link that’s been placed in Docs, Sheets, and Slides without having to open a new tab, while mentioning someone will surface a “smart chip” with contact details for that person.

One big feature Google will soon be rolling out is picture-in-picture functionality for Meet in Docs, Sheets, and Slides, though the timeline for that rollout is a little longer than the rest of the features announced today, with Google saying this will be arriving in the coming months.

This shift to Workspace branding also brings new offerings for small and large G Suite customers alike, though Google doesn’t say exactly what those offerings are. Google says G Suite Basic, Business, and Enterprise customers should look for an email to arrive by October 16th with details on these new packages, with the Workspace name and new branding rolling out to all end users over the next few weeks.

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