Google has a cunning plan to dethrone Microsoft 365

Google Workspace review
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Google has revealed a new plan to help customers squeeze even more value from its productivity software (opens in new tab) and collaboration tools (opens in new tab).

At its annual Google Cloud Next event, the company announced it will invest heavily in the Google Workspace Marketplace, the third-party app library that services its product suite. The goal is to create opportunities for new synergies that expand the functionality of its apps and improve the user experience.

New figures published by Google show the Workspace (opens in new tab) suite now has upwards of three billion users (which equates to more than a third of the planet). Many of these users are augmenting their setup with first- or third-party apps - of which there are now 5,300 in the official marketplace - but Google is pushing for further expansion.

“We’re excited to see so many users personalize their experience by adding third-party apps or by building their own to create a more powerful engine for productivity and collaboration,” wrote Google.

“Developers have been able to build applications that integrate with Gmail (opens in new tab), Drive (opens in new tab) and Docs (opens in new tab) for years. And today, we’re announcing enhancements to the Google Workspace platform by making it just as easy for developers to build applications and integrate with Meet (opens in new tab), Chat (opens in new tab) and Spaces.”

Evolution of Google Workspace

Since the birth of G Suite in 2006, Google has competed directly with Microsoft in the office software (opens in new tab) space, going up against the famous Microsoft 365 (opens in new tab) suite, which houses the likes of Word (opens in new tab), PowerPoint (opens in new tab), Excel (opens in new tab) etc.

One of the defining features of Microsoft’s offering is tight integration between apps and services, extending all the way out to the Windows operating system on which most business devices run. And although Google stole the march on Microsoft when it came to SaaS, the individual G Suite apps felt more isolated.

When Google rebranded its suite as Workspace last year, however, the company announced it would make a concerted effort to create a more “deeply integrated user experience”, by improving the level of interoperability of its various productivity apps. And now, the company wants to focus on facilitating new integrations with third-party apps as well.

The first new integration unveiled at Cloud Next allows users to create and action Jira tickets directly from Google Chat and Spaces, streamlining the ticketing process and cutting the number of apps employees need to juggle at once.

In a similar vein, Google has released a new AppSheet integration for Gmail, which is supposed to help non-technical users to create custom no-code apps that save time on administrative tasks.

Finally, Google announced a new Work Safer offering that utilizes services from security companies CrowdStrike and Palo Alto Networks to help customers collaborate securely in a hybrid working (opens in new tab) environment.

“Our mission is to empower everyone with an innovative and seamless experience that gives people - no matter their location or technical ability - the opportunity to drive real impact,” said Google. “At its core, the vision of the Google Workspace platform is to help you build your own innovation momentum, while providing a foundation of security and privacy.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.