Google Workspace Now Open For All Users But Adds Paid Individual Premium Tier
Google just took a potentially big step in pushing its various services to a lot more people. How so? It opened up Google Workspace to anyone and everyone with a free Google account. There is also a paid tier that is coming, which will bring with it some additional premium features, but the core functionality is now open to anyone with a Google account.
Google Workspace launched in October of last year, basically as a rebranding the company's G Suite products. As such, it was initially only available to people who paid a subscription fee for a G Suite business account.
Making it free will undoubtedly pull more users into the fold. Including consumer, education, and consumer customers, Google claims there are 3 billion active Workspace users, though we imagine the vast majority of those are Gmail users.
"By bringing Google Workspace to everyone, we’re making it easy for people to stay connected, get organized and achieve more together, whether it’s advancing a cause, planning your family reunion, assigning next steps for the PTA or discussing this month’s book club pick," Google says. "You can create a secure collaboration space in Google Chat to keep everyone up-to-date, share ideas, and keep track of all your important info in one place, from videos and pictures of your last trip, to a Google Sheet of your family’s annual budget."
What this essentially entails is a corralling Google's various services like Gmail, Chat, Drive, Docs, Calendar, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and so forth, into a single place—one tab to rule them all, if you will. It is an integrated, all-in-one collaboration front end, which users can start taking advantage of by turning on Google Chat.
"Use Rooms in Google Chat as a central place to connect, create and collaborate with others. Over the summer, we’ll evolve Rooms to become Spaces and introduce a streamlined and flexible user interface that helps you stay on top of everything that’s important," Google explains.
This will have features like in-line topic threading, presence indicators, custom statuses, expressive reactions, and a collapsible view. Most useful, however, is that Spaces will integrate with your files and tasks. Things like smart suggestions will make it easy to bring in recommended files to share with the right people (via @-mentions), and you will be able to do things like assign roles to people and schedule meetings.
Those new to Google Workspace will have to get used to a different interface than what they are accustomed from using the individual services, and that could be an annoyance for anyone who is not interested in the collaborative functions. For now, however, individual services look the same if not switching from Hangouts to Google Chat.
As for extra features, Google is also introducing Workspace Individual, a paid subscription tier with "premium capabilities." These include things like smart booking services, professional video meetings, personal email marketing, and other perks.
"Workspace Individual was created to help people focus their time on doing what they love — like meeting with customers and designing personalized services — and less time on everyday tasks like scheduling appointments and emailing customers," Google says.
That said, the premium tier is not actually available yet, and Google has not said how much it will cost. However, users who are interested can sigh up to receive updates.