Google Cloud Next : Plan by Google Workspace to destroy Office


The Google Workspace team is taking advantage of today's Cloud Next developer conference to make several new tool announcements for Gmail, Docs, Meet, and the rest of the Workspace ecosystem. Google is investing further in its "smart canvas" idea for Docs, which enables users to integrate data and apps inside a page. A tool for conference room cameras that uses AI to keep speakers in focus at all times and automated meeting transcriptions are other new Meet features introduced with hybrid work in mind.

Aparna Pappu, who was appointed VP and GM of Workspace in July after Javier Soltero departed the organisation, is another new head of Google Workspace. Since joining Google in 2007, Pappu spent a significant amount of time on the advertisements team before switching to the Workspace division in 2017. (back when it was called G Suite). She used to be in charge of the Workspace engineering team, but she is now totally in control of the company.

According to Pappu, Google Workspace has reasons to be optimistic despite being a minor competitor in the market for business software, which is still dominated by Microsoft Office. I consider the fact that a generation is entering the workforce in huge numbers and using Google Docs in their academic settings, the woman explains. According to Google's research, these users strongly prefer Workspace to Office, and Pappu is prepared to eventually take the market.

The firm frequently appears far happier introducing and killing new ideas than attempting to enhance existing ones, but Google is not known for its patience. That makes one of Pappu's tasks—establishing and maintaining a clear and consistent vision for Workspace—even more difficult.

The incredibly confusing Meet/Duo merger is still the goal, according to Pappu, and consolidating all of Google's communication products is still the appropriate move. There are no plans to create yet another chat app, he claims. In fact, she claims that putting additional apps closer together is a critical component of the overall Workspace strategy.

Independent items were if you will, our product set's origin story, admits Pappu. Before being eventually Voltron-ed into a single suite of products, Gmail, Docs, Keep, and the others were independent programmes with independent teams and independent agendas. With the "chips" idea, which enables users to embed information from one app into another, Google has started to do more in recent years to foster a sense of community. The addition of chip support to Sheets was also announced by Google at Cloud Next.

Examples of this type of connectivity, as given by Pappu, include the automatic display of calendar availability in emails, the activation of a Meet call within a Google Doc so you can talk and edit in a single tab, and the assignment of a task in a Sheets remark that appears in the Tasks app. For years, Google seems pleased to provide redundant features in every programme, making them all capable of doing any task. The last several years, though, have seen an effort to simply tie them all tighter together while letting each tool do its function. According to Pappu, she wants to go one step further and eventually employ AI and machine learning to make these tools collaborate more proactively.

Google is releasing new Meet and Chat APIs that will enable developers to initiate meetings and send messages from their applications. The Workspace team, particularly in Meet, is starting to integrate more apps within the platform itself. For example, early adopters Figma, Asana, and Atlassian joined a programme that allows users to work on external documents during a Meet call. Similar integrations will continue to occur. The firm is exploring methods to integrate non-Google technologies into your Google tools as it works to increase the functionality of the Docs canvas and the embedded chips notion.

The workplace is undergoing significant transformation at the same time as all of this. After years of working from home, many individuals are finally back in the office, but other folks will never return. Nobody is quite sure how hybrid work is intended to function yet, but it is here to stay. Google is among them.

The only solution, in Pappu's opinion, is to provide as much freedom as you can. Can I rely on my workers to work remotely? she queries. "Are they allowed to bring their own devices? On a Wi-Fi connection in a Starbucks, should I believe them?

Furthermore, how do things operate in the office? Pappu brings up Google's Companion mode several times, citing it as an example of how to make hybrid work by allowing in-person meeting attendees to access polls, chat, and other features. She claims that everyone on her team is obligated to utilise Companion mode at all times.

If you're ready to study the data over the long run, everything, according to Pappu, is driven by the data. She reiterates a well-known reality of life at Google: everyone enjoys shipping new products, but nobody appears to want to continue working on them. "You don't get to say, 'we announced it, I'm done,'" she explains. You require that dedication.

I questioned Pappu about her strategy for wooing Excel users, in particular the ardent pivot-tabling, formula-writing users who never appear to use the mouse and treat Excel like a toy. These folks won't be able to acquire what they need from Google Sheets, and they frequently make purchasing choices for software.

When Pappu heard the question, he chuckled. She frequently inquires about this (herself). According to her, even though Google has developed several Excel compatibility capabilities over the past few years, Excel cannot be outperformed. What will happen if we have Google Sheets with 10 million cells? The question they'll ask is, "Can I have 25 million?"

Google's strategy is to persuade individuals to adopt a new style of working. The potential of a new method of working may be unleashed without being constrained by the past, we're discovering, assuming the on-ramp is simple and familiar enough. Put your data in BigQuery instead of dumping it into a spreadsheet, she advises, and use Data Studio and Looker to display it.

In the end, Google Workspace is positioned to prevail, according to Pappu. Users that are younger and have more options are likely to pick it. Even while Office has advanced significantly as a cloud-based product and Microsoft is still the market leader, Pappu predicts that Workspace's path will eventually trump Microsoft's. Her task is to combine a lengthy, disparate collection of items into a single, universally functional system. More essential, avoid becoming agitated and messing things up.