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September 22, 2020
Microsoft Highlights Future of Work with Teams Updates

September 14, 2020
Nvidia Purchase of Arm Completely Resets Semiconductor Landscape

September 1, 2020
Nvidia Pushes Ray-Traced Gaming Ahead with 3000 Series GPUs

August 25, 2020
Pending Fall Tech Releases Bring Excitement and Hope for Normalcy

August 18, 2020
Intel Chip Advancements Show They’re Up for a Competitive Challenge

August 11, 2020
New 5G Opportunities Coming with Mid-Band Radio Frequencies

July 28, 2020
The Shifting Semiconductor Sands

July 21, 2020
Microsoft and Partners Bring More Hyperconverged Hybrid Cloud Options to Azure

July 14, 2020
New Study Highlights Pandemic-Driven Shifts in IT Priorities

July 7, 2020
Nvidia Virtual GPU Update Brings Remote Desktops, Workstations and VR to Life

June 30, 2020
Power Efficient Computing Noteworthy During Pandemic

June 23, 2020
Apple Transition Provides Huge Boost for Arm

June 16, 2020
Cisco Highlights Focus on Location as Companies Start to Reopen

June 9, 2020
WiFi 6E Opens New Possibilities for Fast Wireless Connectivity

May 26, 2020
Arm Doubles Down on AI for Mobile Devices

May 19, 2020
Microsoft Project Reunion Widens Windows 10 Opportunity to One Billion Devices

May 12, 2020
New Workplace Realities Highlight Opportunity for Cloud-Based Apps and Devices

May 5, 2020
HP’s New Chromebooks, Thin Clients and Gaming Machines Highlight PC Evolution

April 28, 2020
Google Anthos Extending Cloud Reach with Cisco, Amazon and Microsoft Connections

April 21, 2020
Remote Access Solutions Getting Extended and Expanded

April 14, 2020
Apple Google Contact Tracing Effort Raises Fascinating New Questions

April 7, 2020
Need for Multiple Video Platforms Becoming Apparent

March 31, 2020
Microsoft 365 Shift Demonstrates Evolution of Cloud-Based Services

March 24, 2020
The Time for Pragmatism in Tech is Now

March 17, 2020
The Value of Contingencies and Remote Collaboration

March 10, 2020
AMD Highlights Path to the Future

March 3, 2020
Coronavirus-Induced Pause Gives Tech Industry Opportunity to Reflect

February 25, 2020
Intel Focuses on 5G Infrastructure

February 18, 2020
Apple Coronavirus Warnings Highlight Complexities of Tech Supply Chains

February 11, 2020
Arm Brings AI and Machine Learning to IoT and the Edge

February 4, 2020
Nvidia Opens Next Chapter of Cloud Gaming

January 21, 2020
Cloud Workload Variations Highlight Diversity of Cloud Computing

January 14, 2020
New Research Shows It’s a Hybrid and Multi-Cloud World

January 7, 2020
It’s 2020 and PCs are Alive and Kicking

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TECHnalysis Research Blog

October 6, 2020
Google Workspace Reflects Changing Nature of Productivity

By Bob O'Donnell

One of the many changes brought about by the pandemic has been a significant shift in how we think about work processes as well as communications and collaboration with co-workers, clients, and colleagues. While we’re doing many of the same things we’d done before—creating documents, having meetings, emailing, messaging, etc.—the manner with which we’re achieving these tasks has shifted.

In recognition of this change, Google today announced some significant new changes to its productivity suite—previously known as G Suite, but henceforth called Google Workspace. In addition to obvious branding and graphical changes, Workspace takes the core applications of GSuite, including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, Calendar and Meet, and provides tighter integration between the pieces, particularly with regard to collaboration. Google is also providing a broader range of pricing options, for different sized companies and for different tiers of capability and support.

From a functionality perspective, one of the key differences in Workspace is an expanded role for Gmail. From within Gmail, it’s now possible to do things like create and share documents, as well as join a meeting or directly start a call. Arguably, some of these tasks are only an extra step or two away in G Suite, but one of the key goals of Workspace is to make your work environment more seamless and more intelligent.

We’ve seen companies like Citrix and VMWare provide an integrated work environment for applications and documents with their respective workspace products (in their cases, integrating access to applications and services from many different vendors), so it’s not surprising to see Google move in this direction as well. Ultimately, what most of them want to achieve is an environment that’s essentially independent of any underlying OS and, eventually, even independent applications. The goal is to build the true equivalent of a blank workspace through which you can get your work done—in whatever form it may take. One of the benefits of this approach is the ability to easily switch between large screen and mobile devices without losing functionality.

Of course, we haven’t reached this “OS-less” and “application-less” world just yet, so for now, the idea is to make independent applications and services feel a bit more like “plug-ins” or “extensions” to a core communication and collaboration platform. In Workspace, for example, you can have linked content that you can see and edit without switching apps. You can also tag people (via an @ mention) and get suggested actions and/or methods for communicating with that person (or group). This is one of the places where the additional AI-based intelligence that Google has been building into its suite for the last few years comes into play. The idea is to have Workspace help make the process of making better content (such as with writing suggestions) easier to create and share.

Like most videoconferencing platforms, Google has been on a tear adding new capabilities into Meet, the latest version of which is included with Workspace. Launching picture-in-picture-based video calls from within Gmail, for example, provides a fast, easy, and new way to communicate with colleagues and co-workers. In addition, Google has made some important new additions to better integrate its latest collaborative hardware offerings such as Chromecast, Nest Hub Max, and Series One meeting room kits. The idea here is to better leverage all the physical assets you have available to you in whatever location you happen to be in—from screens to speakers to interactive whiteboards—in a more intelligent, more seamless fashion.

Again, some of these capabilities have been available before, but they often required a fair amount of configuration to make them function properly. The goal with Workspace is to make them work like a single unified system. Given the likely reality that we’re all going to be working in hybrid work environments that will include some people at an office, some people working from home, and still others potentially travelling for some time to come, this capability becomes increasingly important.

Another important, though admittedly less exciting, part of Google’s efforts with Workspace is to make it easier for organizations to either switch over from or easily coexist alongside Microsoft’s Office 365 and M365 offerings. To that end, Google has been continuing to enhance the interoperability with Office documents and recently launched Migration services to ease the transition process. Speaking of services, Google also continues to enhance its professional services organization and expects it to play a bigger role as more organizations start to consider Workspace.

It’s for similar reasons that Google also announced the wider range of pricing/functionality tiers for different business sizes. Enterprise versions of Workspace range from $10/user per month to $30/user per month, with the more expensive options including additional security and management capabilities. For small business (under 300 users), prices range from $6/user per month to $18/user per month, with the higher price levels incorporating more advanced functions in Meet (such as user polls and automatic meeting transcriptions) as well as security and endpoint management functions.

Consumers will still continue to have access to the free versions of the core updated Google apps (after all, G Suite is currently used by 2.6 billion users on a monthly basis, but only about 6 million are currently paying for G Suite). However, users of the free versions won’t have access to the tech support, business-focused functions and certain advanced features that the paid customers of Workspace have access to. Over time, some of these advanced features will likely trickle down into the free versions of these applications as well.

While the pandemic may not have completely redefined what productivity and collaboration mean, it’s certainly impacted the means by which we perform these tasks. As we’ve learned, the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere on any device is what we all need. We’ve heard that idea being talked about by many other vendors in the past, but the truth is, before the pandemic, it seemed much more conceptual than real. Given our new and continuing reality, it’s good to see Google, and its new Workspace offering, take what looks to be some important steps in the direction of bringing this concept more fully to life.

Here’s a link to the column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in a video-based podcast called Everything Technology.
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