Technology giant Google is expanding its Workspace suite of office products to everyone with a Google account, in a bid to increase its market footprint and take on rivals like Microsoft.
Google also announced a new individual subscription offer, enhancements to its video conferencing tool Google Meet, as well as security and privacy capabilities to support hybrid workspace collaboration.
The world is moving towards a hybrid workspace. People in some parts of the world — like in the United States — are returning to offices, while others — like in India — continue to work remotely. However, the same technology tools should be made available to everyone to make sure no one is disadvantaged, vice president and general manager of Google Workspace, Javier Soltero told ET in an interview.
“Across the United States and elsewhere in the world, video remains an essential ingredient in workplace communications and collaboration,” said Soltero.
“As soon as some people start being remote, and other people are back in the office, you get this imbalance and potential inequity.”
Soltero said the company decided to make the product available to all users and enhanced it to meet hybrid work environment needs because the user experience should be the same irrespective of work location. In India, Google Meet has grown by about 45 times — in terms of time spent by users on the video conferencing tool — in the first quarter of 2021 compared to last year.
The company recently added ICICI Prudential, NPCI, Voltas and Muthoot Groups to its portfolio of clients.
Google has nearly 3 billion users across consumer, enterprise, and education. They will now have access to the full Google Workspace stack — including Gmail, Chat, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Meet.
The COVID-19 outbreak has proved to be a boon for the technology industry and has accelerated the digitisation journey of all organisations, said managing director — Google Cloud, India Region, Bikram Singh Bedi,in a separate interview.
“For the last one year, all the productivity apps have got majorly accelerated and are getting further accelerated. Even basic businesses are getting digital,” Bedi said.
The company is focussed on growing its partner network — resellers, software vendors, and system integrators — to cater to the increased demand and grow its footprint, he added. Google said on Monday that it would replace Rooms in Google Chat with Spaces in the next few months, providing more features for team collaboration.
It is also launching a new individual subscription offer, called Google Workspace Individual, in a few countries initially and enhancing Google Meet.
Users can enable an integrated experience in Google Workspace by turning on Google Chat in Gmail. The expanded free offering will not dent the company’s revenues, Soltero said.
“It is by no means viewed as coming at the expense of our subscription business or revenue. In fact, it is ac- celerating our revenue…,” he said.m