Google takes aim at Microsoft 365 with small but important update

Google Workspace review
(Image credit: Google)

Google is taking the fight to Microsoft with an update for Workspace that introduces new synergies between its productivity and collaboration apps.

As detailed in a new blog post, Google Workspace users will soon be able to launch into various applications easily from within messaging platform Chat.

“While you’re having a conversation in Google Chat, you can now more easily take actions in other Google Workspace products. The options vary by context, and can include Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Photos and Calendar,” explained Google.

“This will make it easier to take action across Google Workspace and enable a faster and more seamless workflow.”

The update will begin to take effect for Android and desktop users over the next couple of weeks, but won’t land on iOS until the new year.

Google Workspace update

Since the birth of G Suite in 2006, Google has competed directly with Microsoft in the office software space, going up against the famous Microsoft 365 suite, which houses the likes of Word, PowerPoint, Excel 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 the cloud-based model, individual G Suite apps have historically felt much more isolated.

When Google rebranded its productivity 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 between its various productivity apps.

The latest Workspace update takes steps towards achieving this goal, but is just one of a number of improvements Google has made in recent months where interoperability is concerned.

In June, for example, the company announced an integration between Chat and Calendar, which helps users connect quickly with co-workers ahead of or after an upcoming meeting. This was later followed by a separate integration that allows users to share documents and messages with meeting attendees from within the calendar marker.

At its annual Cloud Next event, meanwhile, Google announced it will invest heavily in the Workspace Marketplace, the third-party app library that services its product suite. The goal is to create ways to expand the functionality of its services and cut the number of apps workers are required to juggle at once.

While these updates might appear insignificant in isolation, each contributes to the goal of stitching together Google Workspace in a way that will make the user experience feel less disjointed and more coherent.

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.