Google is the gift that just keeps giving, as the company has announced its business-facing productivity platform is now available to everyone for free.
As one of the most popular software providers in the world, Google and its massive ecosystem of products have been a big part of the business ecosystem for years now. Between Gmail's staggering dominance in the email space to the document apps so popular among professionals, Google is a force for business that is virtually unmatched around the world.
Now, Google Workspace — the suite of Google apps designed for businesses — is available to anyone and everyone completely free of charge, so you can make productivity a priority post-pandemic.
The core philosophy behind Workspace is to enable deeper collaboration between users. You can think of it as the same Google productivity apps you’re already familiar with (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat, etc.), but with a new wrapper around it and deeper integrations between the different apps.
For individual users who want more from their Workspace, there will also be a new paid offering, though Google isn’t saying how much you’ll have to pay yet.
(Update: Google Workspace Individual subscription will be $9.99/month Roughly ₹800, with an introductory price of $7.99/month. Almost ₹600/month)
With that, users will get access to “premium capabilities, including smart booking services, professional video meetings and personalized email marketing, with much more on the way.” We’ll likely hear more about this later this year. This new paid offering will be available “soon” in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil and Japan.
A lot of people — especially those who simply want Gmail to be Gmail and don’t care about all of this collaboration stuff in their private lives — will hate this. But at least for the time being, you can still keep the old experience by not switching from Hangouts to the new Google Chat. But for Google, this clearly shows the path Workspace is on.
“Now, all of the company’s three billion-plus existing users across consumer, enterprise, and education have access to the full Google Workspace experience.”
Find out how much Google Meet will cost your business:
On the security side, Google today also announced that it will allow users to bring their own encryption keys. Currently, Google encrypts your data, but it does manage the key for you. To strengthen your security, you may want to bring your own keys to the service, so Google has now partnered with providers like Flowcrypt, Futurex, Thales and Virtru to enable this.
Google has also made its messaging platform, Google Chat, available for free to everyone as well, and that's available right now.
If you already have a Google account, follow the instructions below to utilize the new feature immediately:
Settings –> All settings –> Chat and Meet –> Google Chat ON
Google is also introducing trust rules for Drive to give admins control over how files can be shared within an organization and externally. And to protect from real phishing threats (not those fake ones your internal security organization sends out every few weeks or so), Google is also now allowing admins to enable the same phishing protections it already offers today to content within an organization to help guard your data against insider threats.