In an announcement on Tuesday, Google introduced the new Google Workspace. This spells a fresh rebranding of Google’s existing G Suite, which is a set of collaborative office products that includes Gmail, Drive and Calendar. In overhauling the existing suite, Google intends to better integrate the platform and redesign some its classic logos.  

The company announced that it is introducing many new features that it says will “streamline collaboration.” This is significant, as workplaces are increasingly encouraging work-from-home practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This is the end of the ‘office’ as we know it,” Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, said in a statement. “From here on out, teams need to thrive without meeting in person, protect their time to focus on the most impactful work, and build human connection in new ways.” 

Google will be redesigning the icons for Gmail, Drive, Calendar and Meet. It will be replacing the previous logos with the classic 4-colour palette associated with Google: red, yellow, blue, and green. This will reflect consistency across applications in the Google ecosystem, and help build an even more recognizable brand image for Google. 

A possible drawback of the redesign is that all Google icons will be stripped off their unique colour identity, which may render them harder to tell apart. Previously, Gmail was red, Calendar was blue, Drive was green/yellow/blue, Docs was blue, and Meet was teal. Now, will are all be multi-coloured, only differentiated by shape. 

“Our new Google Workspace brand reflects this more connected, helpful, and flexible experience, and our icons will reflect the same,” Google states.  

Google’s more connected experience was partly introduced in July, when Gmail got a merged interface with Google Chat, Meet, and Docs on the Web. Users of G Suite experienced Gmail as a one-stop productivity hub, with the ability to open chat rooms and documents right in the Gmail interface. This experience to hoped to be further enhanced after the official rebranding. 

Under this development, Google Meet video chat is also coming to the individual Google document editors (Docs, Sheets, etc). Currently, only text chat is available inside a document, but soon users will able to press a video chat button to collaborate. 

Another new feature includes a “smart chip” with contact details and suggested actions, that will appear upon @mention-ing someone in a document. 

This will be the fourth brand change of Google’s business productivity suite. The business app suite was introduced as Google Apps for Your Domain at its launch in 2006, and then became Google Apps for Work. It was rebranded as “G Suite” in 2016, and now it is Google Workspace. 

The pricing of Google Workspace remains nearly the same as G Suite, although with the availability of a new $18 per user per month Business Plus plan, with additional security features and compliance tools. 

Google Workplace is currently available for businesses, and is expected to roll out across the web and all its applications “in the coming weeks.” 

The author is a former member of staff. She writes features on current affairs and is interested in issues of social justice, online behaviors, and popular culture. She tweets at @zainabmsheikh and can be reached at zainabmubashir@thecorrespondent.pk.

The author is a former member of staff. She writes features on current affairs and is interested in issues of social justice, online behaviors, and popular culture. She tweets at @zainabmsheikh and can be reached at zainabmubashir@thecorrespondent.pk.

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