Google has a cunning plan to dethrone Microsoft 365

Google has revealed a new plan to help customers squeeze even more value from its productivity software and collaboration tools.

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 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, Drive and Docs 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, Chat and Spaces.”

Evolution of Google Workspace

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 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 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.

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