G Suite

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G Suite
Gsuite logo.svg
Developer(s) Google
Initial release August 28, 2006; 10 years ago (2006-08-28) (as Google Apps for Your Domain)
Development status Active
Platform Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Jamboard and Vault.
Type Brand and software suite
License Trialware (Retail, volume licensing, Software as a service)
Website gsuite.google.com

G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Your Domain) is a brand of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google, launched on August 28, 2006.[1] G Suite comprises Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+ for communication; Drive for storage; Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites for collaboration; and, depending on the plan, an Admin panel and Vault for managing users and the services.[2][3] It also includes the digital interactive whiteboard Jamboard.[4]

While these services are free to use for consumers, G Suite adds enterprise features such as custom email addresses at a domain (@yourcompany.com), option for unlimited cloud storage (depending on plan and number of members), additional administrative tools and advanced settings, as well as 24/7 phone and email support.[3]

Being based in Google's data centers, data and information is saved instantly and then synchronized to other data centers for backup purposes.[5]

In contrary to the free, consumer-facing services, G Suite users do not see advertisements while using the services, and information and data in G Suite accounts do not get used for advertisement purposes. Furthermore, G Suite administrators can fine-tune security and privacy settings.[6]

According to Google in 2014, more than 5 million businesses use the service worldwide, including 60% of Fortune 500 companies.[7]

History[edit]

  • February 10, 2006 - Google launched a Gmail for Your Domain test at San Jose City College, hosting Gmail accounts with SJCC domain addresses and admin tools for account management.[8]
  • August 28, 2006 - Google launched Google Apps for Your Domain, a set of apps for organizations. Available for free as a beta service, it included Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and the Google Page Creator, which was later replaced with Google Sites. Dave Girouard, then Google’s vice president and general manager for enterprise, outlined its benefits for business customers: “Organizations can let Google be the experts in delivering high quality email, messaging, and other web-based services while they focus on the needs of their users and their day-to-day business."[1]
  • October 10, 2006 - An edition for schools, known as Google Apps for Education, was announced.[9]
  • February 22, 2007 - Google introduced Google Apps Premier Edition, which differed from the free version by offering more storage (10 GB per user), APIs for business integration, 99.9% uptime for Gmail, and 24/7 phone support. It cost $50 per user account per year. According to Google, early adopters of Google Apps Premier Edition included Procter & Gamble, San Francisco Bay Pediatrics, and Salesforce.com. Additionally, all editions of Google Apps were then able to use Google Documents and Spreadsheets, users could access Gmail on BlackBerry mobile devices, and administrators gained more application control.[10]
  • June 25, 2007 - Google added a number of features to Google Apps, including mail migration from external IMAP servers, shared address books, a visual overhaul of Google Docs and Google Sheets, and increased Gmail attachment size.[11] A ZDNet article noted that Google Apps now offered a tool for switching from the popular Exchange Server and Lotus Notes, positioning Google as an alternative to Microsoft and IBM.[12]
  • October 3, 2007 - A month after acquiring Postini, Google announced that the startup’s email security and compliance options had been added to Google Apps Premier Edition. Customers now had the ability to better configure their spam and virus filtering, implement retention policies, restore deleted messages, and give administrators access to all emails.[13]
  • February 28, 2008 - Google introduced Google Sites, a simple new Google Apps tool for creating intranets and team websites.[14]
  • June 9, 2009 - Google launched Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, a plugin that allows customers to synchronize their email, calendar, and contacts data between Outlook and Google Apps.[15]
  • July 7, 2009 - Google announced that the services included in Google Apps — Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Talk — were out of beta.[16]
  • March 9, 2010 - Google opened the Google Apps Marketplace, an online store for third-party business applications that integrate with Google Apps, to make it easier for users and software to do business in the cloud. Participating vendors included Intuit, Appirio, and Atlassian.[17]
  • July 26, 2010 - Google introduced Google Apps for Government, an edition of Google Apps designed to meet the public sector’s unique policy and security needs. It was also announced that Google Apps had become the first suite of cloud applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation.[18]
  • April 26, 2011 - Nearly five years after the launch of Google Apps, Google announced that organizations with more than 10 users were no longer eligible for the free edition of Google Apps. They would have to sign up for the paid version, now known as Google Apps for Business. A flexible billing plan was also introduced, giving customers the option of paying $5 per user per month with no contractual commitment.[19]
  • March 28, 2012 - Google launched Google Vault, an optional electronic discovery and archiving service for Google Apps for Business customers.[20]
  • April 24, 2012 - Google introduced Google Drive, a platform for storing and sharing files. Each Google Apps for Business user was given 5GB of Drive storage, with the option to purchase more.[21]
  • December 6, 2012 - Google announced that the free version of Google Apps would no longer be available to new customers.[22]
  • May 13, 2013 - Google unified the storage between Drive and Gmail, giving Google Apps customers 30GB total that are shared across the apps.[23]
  • March 10, 2014 - Google launched the Google Apps Referral Program, which offers participating individuals a $15 referral bonus for each new Google Apps user they refer.[24]
  • June 25, 2014 - Google announced Drive for Work, a new Google Apps offering featuring unlimited file storage, advanced audit reporting, and new security controls for $10 per user per month.[25]
  • September 2, 2014 - Google Enterprise, the company’s business product division, was officially renamed Google for Work. "We never set out to create a traditional “enterprise” business — we wanted to create a new way of doing work", explained Eric Schmidt, then Google’s executive chairman. "So the time has come for our name to catch up with our ambition."[26]
  • September 29, 2016 - Google announced that Google Apps for Work would be rebranded as G Suite.[27][28]
  • October 25, 2016 - Google launched the first hardware product for G Suite, the Jamboard; a 55-inch digital whiteboard connected to the cloud.[4]

Products[edit]

G Suite comprises Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+ for communication; Drive for storage; Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites for collaboration; and an Admin panel and Vault for managing users and the services.[2]

The Basic plan includes email addresses with custom domains (@yourcompany.com), video and voice calls, calendars, 30GB storage, collaborative documents, spreadsheets, presentations and sites, controls for security and privacy, and 24/7 phone and email support. The Business plan adds Vault for eDiscovery and enables many additional custom features, including advanced admin controls for Drive, unlimited storage (or 1TB per user if less than 5 users) on Drive, audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing, custom message retention policies, and more.[3]

Gmail[edit]

Main article: Gmail

Gmail is a web-based email service, launched in a limited beta release in April 2004.[29] With over 1 billion active consumer users worldwide in February 2016,[30] it has become popular for giving users large amounts of storage space,[31] and for having threaded conversations and robust search capabilities.[32][33]

As part of G Suite, Gmail comes with additional features designed for business use, including:[34]

  • Email addresses with the customer’s domain name (@yourcompany.com)
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime with zero scheduled downtime for maintenance[35]
  • Either 30GB or unlimited storage shared with Google Drive, depending on the plan
  • 24/7 phone and email support
  • Synchronization compatibility with Microsoft Outlook and other email providers

Google Drive[edit]

Main article: Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service, launched on April 24, 2012. The official announcement described Drive as "a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff."[36]

With Google Drive, users can upload any type of file to the cloud, share them with others, and access them from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Users can sync files between their device and the cloud with apps for Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS computers, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

As part of G Suite, Google Drive comes with additional features designed for business use, including:[37][3]

  • Either 30GB or unlimited storage, depending on the plan
  • Advanced admin controls, depending on the plan
  • Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing, depending on the plan

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms[edit]

Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation program, respectively. The three services originate from company acquisitions in 2006,[38][39][40] and are today integrated into Google Drive. They all serve as collaborative software that allow users to view and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations together in real-time through a web browser or mobile device. Changes are saved automatically, with a revision history keeping track of changes. Google Forms, meanwhile, is a tool that allows collecting information from users via a personalized survey or quiz. The information is then collected and automatically connected to a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is populated with the survey and quiz responses.[41]

In June 2014, Google introduced Office support in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides without the need for file conversion.[42] Writing for TechCrunch, Frederic Lardinois wrote that "Google is clearly positioning its apps as a more affordable solutions for companies that need to occasionally edit Office files".[43]

As part of G Suite, Google Docs and Slides come with additional features designed for business use, including:[44][45]

  • Unlimited revision history

Google Sites[edit]

Main article: Google Sites

Google Sites is a creation tool that allows multiple people to create and edit websites, without requiring coding knowledge or other web design skills. It was introduced in February 2008 in an effort to help customers "quickly gather a variety of information in one place – including videos, calendars, presentations, attachments, and text – and easily share it for viewing or editing with a small group, their entire organization, or the world."[46]

Google Calendar[edit]

Main article: Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an online calendar intended to help keep track of time and schedules. It was launched in April 2006, and integrates with Gmail for users to easily add events from email messages directly to the calendar.[47]

As part of G Suite, Google Calendar comes with additional features designed for business use, including:[48]

  • Smart scheduling of meetings, where the service finds available times and appropriate locations based on coworkers' schedules
  • Public calendars for consumers to see a business' upcoming events
  • Calendar integration with Google Sites
  • Easy migration from Exchange, Outlook or iCal, or from .ics and .csv files
  • Ability to see what meeting rooms and shared resources are available

Google Hangouts[edit]

Main article: Google Hangouts

When Google Apps for Your Domain was launched in 2006, Google Talk was used for communication.[1] This was later replaced in May 2013 by Google Hangouts, a messaging service that incorporates technology from different communication services Google had developed.[49]

Hangouts supports text, voice and video conversations (video up to 25 participants), and is cross-platform on the web, Android and iOS.[50]

In July 2014, Google announced that Hangouts would be covered under the same 99.9% uptime guarauntee that Gmail and Google Drive have, as well as 24/7 phone and email support.[51]

As part of G Suite, Google Hangouts comes with additional features designed for business use, including:[50]

  • Participants can share their screens.
  • The screen automatically focuses on the person who is speaking, and "intelligent muting" prevents background noise.
  • Businesses can host Hangouts on Air; public livestreams that are automatically saved to the business' YouTube account
  • Integration with Google Calendar for one-click start of a Hangouts conversation at the beginning of a meeting
  • Custom controls for admins, including limiting access, turning chat history off, and the ability to eject participants for privacy
  • Custom status messages[52]

Google+[edit]

Main article: Google+

Google+, Google's social networking service, was launched in invitation-only basis in June 2011,[53] before becoming officially available in October.[54]

It is used to let team members "engage and communicate" at "a deeper level", with a stream featuring posts, comments and Communities based on common goals. It "makes it easy for anyone to discuss and share ideas, no matter their team, level or location." It features Collections that make it easy to group posts by topic, in order for users to "show what they know and follow what matters most".[55]

As part of G Suite, Google+ comes with additional features designed for business use, including:[55]

  • Enhanced privacy controls
  • Restricted communities[56]

Google Vault[edit]

Google Vault, an archiving and electronic discovery service exclusively available to Google Apps customers, was announced on March 28, 2012.[57] Vault allows customers to find and preserve email messages and on-the-record Hangout chats that may be relevant to litigation. It also helps them manage business data for continuity, compliance, and regulatory purposes.[58] As of June 25, 2014, Vault customers can also search, preview, and export Google Drive files.[59]

Google Apps Vault is included as part of Drive for Work with unlimited storage, available for $10 per user per month.[60]

Jamboard[edit]

Main article: Jamboard

In October 2016, Google announced Jamboard, the first hardware product designed for G Suite. Jamboard is a digital interactive whiteboard that enables collaborative meetings and brainstorming. The Jamboard is connected to the cloud, and enables people in different locations to work together in real-time through multiple Jamboards or connected remotely through a smartphone companion app. The Jamboard recognizes different touch inputs, such as using a stylus to sketch or eraser to start over, and does not require batteries or pairing. The Jamboard is a 55-inch 4K display with a built-in HD camera, speakers and Wi-Fi.[4][61]

Pricing[edit]

When prospective customers sign up for G Suite, they get a free 14-day trial for up to 10 users.[62]

G Suite Basic costs $5 per user per month, and G Suite Business costs $10 per user per month.[3]

G Suite for Education, however, is free.[63]

Security[edit]

Google has stated that they do not own the customer’s data. The data is stored in Google’s data centers, and access is limited to select employees and personnel.[64] They do not share data with others, will only keep data as long as required by the customer, and customers can take the data if they migrate off Google Apps.[65]

Google Apps offers enterprise-grade security and compliance, including a SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification, adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and can support industry-specific requirements like Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).[66] Google claims that spam blockers are integrated into Google Apps with built-in virus checking and checking of documents before allowing users to download any message.[64]

Google ensures that all files uploaded to Google Drive are encrypted, and that every email sent or received is encrypted when being moved internally between data centers.[67] In a blog post, Google for Work stated that they offer strong contractual commitments to protect customer's information and they do not show advertisements or scan customer information for advertising.[67]

Usage[edit]

Google Apps claims that over five million businesses are using their tools, either the free or the paid version.[68] According to Google for Work President Amit Singh, 60% of Fortune 500 companies are using Google for Work services.[69] Customers range across industries around the globe including Uber,[70] AllSaints,[71] BuzzFeed,[72] Design Within Reach,[73] Virgin, PwC[74] and more. Many of the customers using Apps are featured on the Apps customer page.[75] As of July 2016, it trails, the more dominant competitor, Office 365[76]

Google resellers and referrers[edit]

Google has an ecosystem of resellers that help prospects get up and running on Apps. The Partner directory helps people find partners. On March 10, 2014, Google launched a referral program, that gives referrers $15 for every person who signs up.[77] This program initially debuted for anyone based in the US and Canada. The fine print of the referral program shows that people can refer an unlimited number of customers, but they’re rewarded for each referral customer’s first 100 users.[78]

On December 4, 2014, Google introduced the Google for Work and Education Partner Program which helps partners sell, service and innovate across Google for Work and Education suite of products and platforms.[79]

Google Apps Marketplace[edit]

The Google Apps Marketplace launched in 2010 is an online store with business-oriented cloud applications that augment Google Apps functionality.[17] The Marketplace lets administrators browse for, purchase, and deploy integrated business-oriented cloud applications. It is available for Google Apps, G Suite, and Google Apps for Education.[80]

Developers can also develop apps on the Marketplace, and sell apps and services in the Marketplace.[80] On March 6, 2014, Google shared that Google Apps customers have added over 200M installs from the marketplace since the launch of the Marketplace in 2010.

On September 17, 2014, Google released a blog post that employees can install third-party apps from the Marketplace without involving administrators.[81]

Reception[edit]

Google Apps has received many positive reviews online with an average of 4-5 stars on a 5 star scale.[82] Reviews praise Google Apps for its competitive pricing, all-inclusive suite offering, easy setup, and working well across devices.[83] Some negative reviews point out that Google Apps, Google Presentations and Google Documents lack the same level of features that provide professional-looking documents made in Powerpoint and Microsoft Word.[83]

After Google+ was launched, many articles were published that emphasized that having a presence on Google+ helped with the business' Google search result rankings. Particularly public-facing Pages and +1 buttons were pushed as effective marketing strategies.[84][85][86][87]

However, writing for The New York Times, Quentin Hardy said that "the sour grapes version is that Google Plus isn’t getting anything like the buzz or traffic of Facebook, so Google is figuring out other ways to make the service relevant". However, Hardy did note that the integration between Google+ and other, more popular Google services, including Hangouts, meant "it’s still early on, but it’s easy to see how this could be an efficient way to bring workers to a virtual meeting, collaborate during it and embed in a calendar the future work commitments and follow-up that result."[88]

Competitors[edit]

The key competitor to the Google Apps suite is Microsoft Office 365—Microsoft’s cloud-based offering for businesses that includes similar products. Online reviewers vary as to which is the better offering. Reviews note that Google Apps and Microsoft 365 are similar in ratings but very different in features.

The key differences are in the pricing plans, storage space and number of features. Microsoft 365 tends to have a greater number of features than Google Apps, but many of them often go unused.[89] Google does not release revenue or user figures, making it hard for reviewers to compare Google Apps success to that of Microsoft Office.[90] As of October 2014, Microsoft has 7M customers for the Office 365 product and grew by 25% in the last quarter.[91] Microsoft also announced that it is giving away unlimited storage to customers who buy the cloud version of Microsoft Office 365.[91] [92]Additionally, an academic institution that doesn't have Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus, individual students, faculty members, or staff can pay $79.99 for a four-year subscription to Office 365 University.[92]

There are currently no startups competing with Google Apps suite because the cost to compete on one product, like email, is too high and the revenue opportunity is hard.[91]

With Google Apps’ new SKU, Apps with Unlimited Storage and Vault, Google Apps has attracted new competitors - Box, Dropbox and OneDrive.[93]

Related products[edit]

G Suite is part of many other products within Google’s products for work. These include Google Cloud Platform, Search for Work, Maps for Work and Chrome for Work.[94]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]