If you sign up for a G Suite (opens in new tab) account, you and the rest of your team are likely to be spending a lot of time in Gmail: it remains the central hub of communication for G Suite users, with Hangouts, Google Tasks, Google Keep and Google Calendar built right in. The setup is very similar to the personal edition of Gmail, but there are a few differences.
More than a billion people check into a personal Gmail account at least semi-regularly, so it's probable that you're already familiar with it even if you're not a G Suite user. The most recent visual revamp, bringing more rounded elements, more white space, and a sidebar with Google Calendar and Google Keep, is now available inside G Suite as well as in personal Gmail accounts.
Gmail for G Suite: interface
Gmail for G Suite is fast, easy to get around, and intuitive, especially with the recent update – as you'll know if you use Gmail in a personal capacity. With the conversation view, category tabs, inline attachment previews and layout options, you've got plenty of ways to make sifting through your messages easy on the eye.
All that white space might not be for everyone, but with support for both POP and IMAP included in Gmail, you can use it with a different client if necessary (you can even check non-Gmail accounts from inside Gmail and consolidate emails from several sources).
What really impresses about the Gmail interface is the way its handy features are given just the right amount of visual flourish – important emails get a small yellow arrow, for example, while the flexible labels can be color-coded as you see fit. Whatever you need to find, from starred emails to unread emails, the elegant interface helps.
The polish and prowess of Gmail extends to the mobile apps as well, of course, where you'll find Gmail for Android and iOS holds up rather well against competing apps from the likes of Apple and Microsoft. Gmail's ability to automatically prioritize emails as they come in is particularly helpful in managing notification overload.
Gmail for G Suite: features
Depending on your point of view you might say Gmail is either overly basic or beautifully simple in its pared-down interface, but there's no doubting the high number of features on offer here, from the conversation view introduced all the way back in 2004, to the newly introduced smart replies (single-click responses based on the contents of an email).
You get offline access to your emails (in Chrome), the ability to snooze emails to a later date, and a confidential mode – letting you set expiry times for emails, and protect them with a passcode, if needed – is rolling out soon. Undo send is another Gmail feature useful for organizations and their members, available both on the web and in the mobile apps (as are the majority of features).
Each user can be assigned up to 30 different aliases inside their inbox, without adding to the number of registered users – so one staff member can be responsible for email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com, and so on (or if your business is just you, you can create up to 30 email aliases as one user). All of this can be managed easily from the admin console. Meanwhile, a host of official add-ons are available too, including the likes of DocuSign, Trello, Asana and Dropbox.
This is all on top of the fantastic feature set Gmail is already known for: emails that get automatically sorted by importance as they arrive, a speedy search and labelling system you can use to make sense of your inbox, separate tabs for different email categories, customizable filters for taking some of the manual work out of organizing your inbox, and so on. It's hard to think of anything it's missing – and it keeps getting better.
Gmail for G Suite: security
On a user level, the security protections afforded to the team members in a G Suite organization are similar to those on personal Gmail accounts: the usual username and password combination can be augmented with two-factor authentication, if needed.
Spam and phishing protection is built right in for G Suite Gmail accounts, as it is for personal Gmail accounts, adding an extra security layer that's getting smarter all the time (as Google trains it on masses of data). It's by no means impossible to break into a Gmail account, but Google makes it very hard.
Gmail also supports the advanced domain authentication protocols SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, to help verify emails coming in and going out of your organization. There's also support for secure, encrypted TLS (Transport Layer Security) connections where available – as when you're emailing other Gmail for G Suite users, for instance.
From tight physical and digital security around its data centers, to independent security audits from third-party firms, Google puts enough effort into data security to give you peace of mind – or as much peace of mind as you can get with major data breaches hitting the headlines on a regular basis. If your users keep their accounts safe, then Google will uphold its end of the deal.
Gmail for G Suite: pricing and verdict
Gmail comes as part of G Suite, which is offered in three different plans (opens in new tab): Basic ($6/£4.40 per user per month), Business Standard ($12/£9 per user per month), Business Plus ($18/£13 per user per month), and Enterprise (you will need to contact Google for a custom quote). As we've said, each user can have 30 email aliases on any of these plans, but as you go up through the tiers, users get more storage allocated to them.
You do get a few extras in Gmail, with the Business and Enterprise plans, including the ability to set data retention plans (to either archive or scrub your organization's email accounts after a certain time). A 14-day trial is available if you want to give G Suite a go without paying.
There are of course alternatives – Office 365 and the Zoho web suite among them. While Microsoft has the advantage in terms of the maturity and connectivity of its Outlook email platform, Gmail for G Suite is web-first with all the benefits that brings. It's also slicker and more feature-rich than Zoho, though all three are very good platforms. Where Gmail for G Suite really stands out is in the quality of its web and mobile apps, both in terms of their layout and their capabilities.
Google has been developing Gmail for close on 15 years now, and it shows: it's fast and responsive, packed with features, and friendly to third-party add-ons (though it does rely heavily on other G Suite apps on the whole). As an email solution that can go just about anywhere, it's hard to beat for business users.
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