Google Workspace is Google’s enterprise productivity suite used by everyone from large enterprise customers, K-12 schools, and even small nonprofits. Workspace was previously known as G Suite and Google Apps for your Domain. In late 2020, Google renamed Google Workspace to better integrate remote working tools into the product in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workspace is entirely hosted by Google, meaning that when used by a company, they do not have to install or set up servers to access their data. When looking for a Google Workspace review, it’s important to consider all that is included with the service.
You might be wondering, what is a workspace in Google Drive, but a Workspace is not a specific application, though. It’s a term for the entire family of applications that are included with the product. Google Workspace contains the following applications:
Gmail – Enterprise Email
Gmail, launched initially for consumers in 2004, is one of the keystone parts of Google Workspace. At the time of its launch, Gmail provided a whopping 1GB of storage. Small by today’s standard, 1GB was revolutionary at the time. When businesses sign up for Google Workspace, the minimum amount of storage they receive is 30GB. This storage quota isn’t just for email, though. The 30GB encompasses all of a user’s email, Google Drive storage, and anything else stored in Workspace.
Gmail is different from traditional IMAP email clients in how it organizes email messages. Instead of conventional folders, it uses labels as the primary organization method. Where folders only allow one folder per email message, Google’s use of labels enables users to apply multiple labels to the same email message. Google also offers users various types of ways to view their inbox. The options are Default, Important first, Unread first, Starred first, Priority Inbox, or Multiple Inboxes. Google’s Gmail includes robust spam filtering to keep junk mail out of the inbox.
Google Drive is a file storage and sync service used as a centralized repository for all of Google’s productivity apps. While it’s mainly used as a web app, Google offers a desktop app called Google File Stream for Mac and PC to sync documents locally for offline access. It also includes iOS and Android applications for managing files on mobile devices and tablets. Google Drive is the default file system for ChromeOS devices.
Google Drive includes built-in file sharing (with edit/view/comment only options) and Shared Drives. Shared Drives are unique in that files stored in them have no “owner,” and therefore are not deleted if a user leaves the organization, and their account is removed.
Google Drive is also home to Google’s productivity suite that’s a Microsoft Office competitor. Google Docs is a cloud-based word processor that includes simultaneous collaboration with other users. Google docs can open multiple file types which include:
Once text-based files are uploaded or added to Google Drive, they are synced to Google’s cloud ecosystem for backup and storage. Native Google Docs files can include images, hyperlinks, and other non-text-based formats as well.
Google Spreadsheets is Google’s Microsoft Excel competitor. Like Google Docs, it’s available on the web, iOS, and Android. All files are stored in Google Drive and allow multiple people to view and edit a spreadsheet simultaneously. Google Spreadsheets and Excel, from a 50,000-foot view, offer similar features. Excel is better suited to working with extremely large spreadsheets with very complex macros and formulas, but Google Spreadsheets provides a similar experience for most use cases. Excel is tightly integrated with Microsoft 365, and it’s the ecosystem of products, though.
Google Slides is Google’s free Powerpoint alternative. Rather than working in a desktop application, Google Slides offers presentation preparation 100% in either a web browser or mobile application. One of the significant differences between the two apps is that Powerpoint offers many more templates, but Google Slides is becoming increasingly popular for people collaborating on presentations together.
Using Google Drive as a workspace is beneficial for combining all of your documents into a single place that is always backed up to Google’s cloud service, and it’s available across all your devices. If you work with others, Google makes it easy to share your workspace on Google Drive with others with plenty of options for editing, commenting, suggesting, etc. People don’t even need a Google account to collaborate with you.
Workspace also includes a built-in calendar, form creation software, and Hangouts video calls. All of these tools, combined together, form the basis of what is known as Workspace. Google’s form creation software is an underrated part of the platform as it allows you to build out forms, offer file uploads, and more. Some organizations use the forms for expense reports, check requests, and HR functions.
How Much Does Google Workspace Cost?
Anyone looking for a Google Workspace review will be interested in the monthly fee. All Workspace plans include Gmail, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, and Google Calendar. The main differences between each of the plans are the storage included, video conference participant limit, and support options.
The features included in Workspace are very similar to what was in G Suite.
Video conference limit
Option to upgrade to enterprise
Option to upgrade to enterprise
Custom email domain
Price per user per month
Google Workspace vs. G Suite
During the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, Zoom became the default video conferencing software. As a result, Google made changes to its enterprise platform to focus more on collaboration and remote work. Meet, Chat, and Rooms were all heavily integrated across Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. Google has unified all of these products under the brand name Google Workspace.
Workspace added the ability to create and collaborate on documents with guests in Chat and to preview linked files in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides without having to open them in a new browser window. When you @mention somebody in a document, Workspace will also pop up a “smart chip” to show you contact details and suggest actions like starting a call, sending an email, etc.
The core features of G Suite remained unchanged outside of these new collaborations and remote work-focused features. Google is responding to the needs of remote workers by organizing its products in a more useful manner.
Google Workspace Alternatives
Workspace has several competitors for those seeking Google Workspace alternatives solutions. Some of them are free, but others are paid only subscriptions.
Starts at $8/mo/user
Starts at $5/mo/user
Free with Mac
Free for personal
Only with $8/mo/user plan and higher
Collaboration and File Sharing
Video conference solutions
File Sharing in Google Workspace
File Sharing is a crucial feature of Workspace. Since all documents are online by default, they can be shared with anyone else. Along with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, entire folders can be shared with other people as well. File-sharing can be done inside or outside of your organization. There are two primary ways to share files. The first is by going to the File menu and choosing share. The second is by clicking on the Share button in the top right-hand corner of any document screen.
When sharing files, you’ll have the option to share with specific people, anyone with the link, allow editing, or lock people to viewing or commenting only.
Mobile Applications For Google Workspace
Workspace isn’t tied to just a computer, but it can also be used on mobile devices. Workspace mobile apps are available for iOS and Android.
- Google Drive for iOS
- Google Drive for Android
- Google Docs for iOS
- Google Docs for Android
- Google Spreadsheets for iOS
- Google Spreadsheets for Android
- Google Slides for iOS
- Google Slides for Android
All files created and edited on the Workspace mobile apps are synced back to Google’s cloud so they can be accessed on all your devices.
Google Workspace Support
All paid Workspace plans come with standard support. For those on the Standard and Plus plans, there is an option to upgrade to Enterprise support. To access Google Workspace support, sign in to https://admin.google.com and click on the question mark in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
There will be three different options for support. You have the option of chatting with a support representative, talking to someone on the phone, or sending an email. Google Workspace’s phone support is available in 14 languages.
Who Is Google Workspace Useful For?
When considering a Google Workspace review, it’s important to consider who it will be useful for. Workspace is an ideal solution for organizations that do not want to maintain their server infrastructure and are interested in Google products. Because it’s an all or nothing approach, all users in an organization must use the same tools. It will not be possible for some departments to use Workspace while another uses Microsoft 365.
Workspace will be extremely beneficial for organizations who want to use web-based tools available on all platforms.
Pros And Cons Of Google Workspace
There are a lot of benefits to using Workspace, but there are some glaring negatives.
- Easy to set up
- Easy to share files
- No IT support needed for file backups
- No desktop tools for productivity
- Google can be perceived negatively since it’s primarily an advertising company
- Gmail labels can be hard to understand for new users
Spike offers an all in one platform that unifies all of your separate apps into a single unified feed for all of your work. With Google Workspace, users bounce from each Google Workspace application thus scattering their data across multiple browser windows. With Spike, all email, document collaboration, task management, calendar, calls, and more are combined into a single unified Workspace. We have a big announcement coming in 2021 around enterprise communications and email, so be sure to stay tuned to our blog and follow Spike on Twitter.
No, Google Workspace no longer offers a free version. People who sign up for the original Google Apps for your Domain service had an option for a free tier with under ten users, but it has been discontinued.
Yes, Workspace works on all computer platforms that have access to a web browser. This includes Mac, PC, ChromeOS, and even Linux.
Yes, as long as you have an active internet connection, all Workspace files are continually backed up to Google’s cloud service. When considering Google Workspace replacements, file storage is a key aspect.