From small business owners to freelancers, Google Workspace is attractive to many different people and companies. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) offers tools to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Plus, it helps businesses send emails with a company domain name and store files virtually.
Google Workspace helps an estimated 5 million businesses with its suite of products, making it Microsoft’s biggest rival. Microsoft has reigned supreme in this industry for decades, and while it claims to have 200 million businesses signed on to its services, Google Workspace is gaining momentum and popularity.
With user-friendly tools that help people get work done on android, iOs, and all mobile devices, it’s easy to see why so many businesses are considering this suite of tools. This guide will provide a look at what Google Workspace is, who it’s best suited for, pricing, features, and pros and cons.
What is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace (Formerly G Suite) is a set of professional productivity tools. Most people are familiar with some of the tools in Google Workspace like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar Invites. Google gives people free versions of these tools, but small businesses can upgrade to Google Workspace to gain access to more new features that promote online productivity and collaboration.
Google Workspace includes customized email addresses, cloud storage, administration tools, and access to Gmail, Google Talk, Google Meet, Google Calendar, Google Page Creator, Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, and Google Forms.
Who is Google Workspace best for?
Wondering if Google Workspace is an ideal solution for you or your business? Here’s who typically uses this tools set:
- Small-to-medium size businesses who want collaborative tools with advanced security and access options.
- Freelancers or solopreneurs who want an affordable email domain so their email address is @ABCCompany.com rather than @gmail.com.
- Schools and nonprofits often use the tool kit to share files and work together on projects
- Small businesses that prefer cloud-based storage as opposed to storing everything internally on hard drives.
How is Google Workspace different from other solutions?
Microsoft 365 is Google’s biggest competitor. The two companies both offer business email, online storage, productivity apps to create things like documents and spreadsheets, and communication tools like messaging and conferencing tools.
Microsoft has a solid reputation in the business world, and for those who have used Microsoft tools like Word and Excel for years, selecting Microsoft 365 could be the easier solution. Their business tools tend to be more robust than Google’s, which are a bit more basic.
When it comes to pricing, Microsoft has a dizzying number of pricing tiers while Google’s Workspace has just three. Microsoft asks for a year-long commitment, where Google charges on a monthly basis.
In many cases, the choice between the two comes down to the tools that companies are familiar with. If Microsoft is a clear winner in your shop, it tends to sway the decision and vice versa.
Beyond Microsoft, there are only a handful of solutions on the market that can compete with Google. There are applications that provide one or two of the services, like Slack, which offers a great messaging tool, or Dropbox, which offers a file-sharing solution like Google Docs, but few solutions rival the entire package of Google Workforce.
Several companies are trying though. Zoho, for example, offers a suite of tools for small businesses that include a word processor, email hosting platform, web conferencing tools, and chat functionality. It’s affordable too, at $3 a month. However, most users say the tools aren’t as user-friendly as those in Google Workspace.
Samepage is another alternative that offers file sharing, task management, and document collaboration tools all within a single solution, but it lacks email hosting.
What features are included in Google Workspace?
Wondering what can be done with Google Workspace? We’ll break the features up into groups.
Shared calendars and video conferencing
- Use shared calendars to see when people are available and send meeting invites that mark the time in your calendar when accepted.
- Invite people to a video call. You’ll use the same calendar invite and simply click a button to add a Google Meet button.
- Easily share your screen during your presentation
Storage of files
- Access to Google Drive, a cloud-based storage spot, that keeps all of your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations safe and in one place.
- Google cloud storage often eliminates (or drastically reduces) the need for internal storage.
- All of the Google tools like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides all have real-time file sharing capabilities.
- You control who can view, comment, or edit the document.
- Google Workspace offers security options like 2-factor authentication, endpoint management, and access controls through its admin console.
What apps are included in Google Workspace?
Google Workspace boasts access to 14 different productivity apps. We’ll highlight the most frequently used Google apps and provide a quick description of each.
Google Docs is a word processor that lets people create documents and share them in real-time with other people. The document owner can control who can view, comment, or edit a document, all of which can be done from a laptop or mobile device.
Google Sheets is akin to Microsoft Excel. It offers a spreadsheet program with high functionality and sharing privileges that work similarly to Google Docs.
Google Slides gives people the ability to create slideshows or presentations. Pick from ready-made templates, add your information, and bring the presentation to life with movements.
Google Calendar is more than a simple calendar. When it’s used inside Google Workspace, calendars are shared, so booking time with team members or a manager is simple. You look for an open space, click on the day and time you’d like to meet, and send a calendar invite. The invite is emailed. If the recipient agrees to the meeting, it automatically goes on your calendar.
When you send a calendar invite, you can add a Google Meet link to it. Google Meet is a video conferencing tool. To join the call, you click on the link in your calendar and simply click, “Join.” You can turn your video off and use it as a phone conferencing tool as well.
Google Drive is a virtual storage space for all of your files. A small business no longer needs offline storage, with the exception of backups, of course.
Google services also include customized, professional email addresses and access to an easy-to-use email platform with Gmail.
How much does Google Workspace cost?
While Google does offer free consumer versions of many tools like Google Docs and Google Sheets, to gain access to all of the tools, there’s a monthly fee.
As of 2021, there are three tiers of prices. The Business Starter is $6 per user, per month. Business Standard is $12 per user, per month and the Business Plus is $18 per user, per month. Here’s the difference between each:
The Business Starter package includes custom and secure business email, 100 participant video meetings, 30GB cloud storage per user, security and management controls, and standard customer service support. The price, again, is $6 per user, per month.
The Business Standard package includes everything from the Business Starter package, but it allows for 150 participants in video meetings and 1TB of cloud storage per user. The price is $12 per user, per month.
The Business Plus package includes everything from the Business Starter package, but upgrades the number of video participants in a call to 250 and adds attendance tracking. Users get 5TB of cloud storage and are given access to eDiscovery, a retention tool. This price is $18 per user, per month.
For companies looking for more than what these packages offer, there is a Business Enterprise package. To learn more about it, you must speak with a sales representative.
Both the Business Standard and Business Plus plans have customer service add-ons. A company can pay an additional fee to upgrade customer support. Google’s pricing list doesn’t specify the cost to do so.
What kind of customer support is offered?
Google Workspace does offer 24/7 customer service. The company offers assistance over the phone, via chat, or through email. There is also an extensive library of self-service articles that can walk people through how to carry out specific functions. Administrators can also join online customer support groups.
As mentioned, customer support services can be upgraded as well. The premium support plans offer companies a technical account manager, one-on-one assistance, and access to training tools to bring everyone up to speed with Google’s tools and features.
Users have praised the customer support team, saying it’s responsive, approachable, and effective.
What are the pros of Google Workspace?
For those wondering about the benefits of Google Workspace, here are the pros:
- Convenient – For a business to have access to so many tools in one place, plus access to storage and email domains, it’s huge. There’s no bouncing from system to system, it’s all together.
- User-friendly – Google has a knack for creating user-friendly tools. Even a computer novice can open Google Docs and figure out how to create a document. The low learning curve is a win for many companies.
- Collaboration – The streamlined ability to share documents and collaborate is certainly a benefit. Before file sharing, documents were saved to a computer, emailed, opened, edited, re-saved, and emailed back to the originator. Google has eliminated this entire procedure. Create a document, share it, and everyone can work on it together.
- Wide range of tools – Google Workspace offers a variety of applications that are all pertinent to the office, and they’re all integrated.
- Many, many integrations – Google has an impressive list of integrations, including many CRMs. There are literally hundreds of integrations. Reference this list for more details.
What are the cons of Google Workspace?
Now, let’s look at the cons of Google Workspace. They are:
- Limited abilities – Google has rival applications for Microsoft Office. Google Docs mimics Microsoft Word, Google Sheets is similar to PowerPoint, and so on. While all of Google’s apps are user-friendly, some say they’re watered-down versions of Microsoft’s offerings. There is less functionality and formatting, for example.
- Reliance on the internet – To use Google Workspace and all of its tools, you need a strong, reliable internet connection. Without it, work stops. While there are some abilities to work offline, and sync documents to the cloud later, they’re limited.
- Google and Microsoft don’t speak the same language – For people who want to bounce between Microsoft programs and Google apps, you’ll likely run into problems. A document that’s copied from Microsoft Word into Google Docs, for example, will likely be formatted incorrectly.
- Cloud-based storage concerns – There are risks to relying on cloud-based storage systems. From hacking risks to internet outages, storing everything virtually can cause a different set of problems than storing files on physical drives.
- Cost – Google bases its pricing structure on a per person, per month charge. For small businesses with a handful of employees that’s fairly affordable, but a company with 50 people will pay $300 a month for the basic package, which can add up.
Frequently asked questions about Google Workspace
To provide further details about Google Workspace and the features it offers, here are answers to frequently asked questions:
What’s the difference between Google Workspace and Google’s free apps?
With Google Workspace, people get more business-level services like email domain names and expansive cloud-storage.
Can a user have more than one email address?
Yes. A user can have up to 30 email addresses with Google Workspace.
Can I migrate my current email address to my new business account?
Yes. Google has special tools that can merge all old email accounts, even ones that aren’t Gmail, to your new business account.
Does Google Workspace come with a shareable calendar?
Yes. You can set up a calendar so it’s shareable to everyone or create separate calendars that are specific to a department or a subset of people.
Does Google Docs work offline?
Yes. You can work offline through a Chrome browser. Google explains how in this tutorial.
Can you convert other presentations to Google Slides?
Yes. Instructions to do so can be found here.