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For Google's G Suite, it's worth paying for the business

In 2006, when Google announced an online mini suite called Documents and Spreadsheets, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington stated that it was a "shot over the bend of Microsoft Office." It looked like one. But over the next twelve years, when Docs and Spreadsheets evolved into Google Apps, rebranded as the G Suite in 2016, Microsoft's ten-year-old suite showed less vulnerability to attacks than you might have guessed. Today, Office continues to dominate workplace productivity and Office 365, the subscription version, is a growth business; Income from corporate customers increased by 38 per cent last year.

Meanwhile, Google's package has racketed many users, especially among consumers, students, and small businesses, without threatening office teams to larger organizations. But Google has not given up on the big business market. Three years ago, it hired VMware founder Diane Greene to run the business. Under the new name Google Cloud, the domain now contains a number of previously different business and y efforts, including G Suite.

Google says that more than four million organizations pay G Suite customers, up from two million a couple of years ago; Some of the brand's names are Airbus, Carrefour, Colgate-Palmolive, Nielsen, Verizon and Whirlpool. The office hegemony is still largely in place. Google and Microsoft share other statistics about their low-end suite businesses, making accurate comparisons difficult, but G Suite is making progress on its own terms.

With the Google Cloud Next event going on in San Francisco, it's the biggest week of the year for G Suite announcements. Last week, before the conference began, I talked to two of the heads of G Suite VP for apps engineering Prabhakar Raghavan and CEO of Engineer Elissa Murphy ̵

1; about some of the news and state of the G Suite in general.

The Big Picture

How has Google managed to double the G Suite base of paying customers? Being a part of Google Cloud, heavily invested in registering business customers for web services of all kinds, has helped: "It's very reasonable to say that the amount of cross-fertilization and cross-selling is dramatically higher than it was three years ago," said Raghavan. Then, the effort the company has put in the simplification of mass migrations, he adds: "We do many things to make it super easy for big accounts to move on and have their workforce run with the G Suite."

VP for apps engineering Prabhakar Raghavan [Photo: courtesy of Google]

Another factor: giant companies that used to resist the proposal for storing business data in other data centers instead of on their own, have finally heated up to the idea. (Office 365, but a subscription activity, is still focused on Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other programs in their conventional desktop versions, which means that a company can embrace it without ever-going n on the cloud.) G Suite's earliest customers used to be tech companies and startups, but "now we see visionary companies hoping too," says Murphy. "It really depends on being cloud-native."

Finally, Google's productivity programs have been long enough for a generation of young people who came into the workforce to grow up on them, not Office. A customer, the Raghavan, recently said that he "hired 3000 people last year and they all want a G Suite."

A new Gmail … when businesses are ready for it

When Google revealed a dull Gmail upgrade in April, much of what was new, intended to make the e-mail service more tasty for corporate use, including additional measures designed to prevent employees from getting phished and features to send confidential messages that can not be forwarded or printed. However, instead of immediately rolling the new version to corporate customers, Google offered it only as an option for companies that had signed up for G's Early Adoption Program. Today, it makes the new version available to all businesses – but still gives them the ability to turn it on or leave it for now. (Some of the functionality announced in April is still rolling out.)

Although Google is careful to ensure that business types do not feel they are forced into a larger Gmail transition on Google's plan instead of its Own response to the interface tweaks and other changes have been positive, according to the Raghavan. "We were afraid to move a single pixel would result in a Twitter storm," he says. "Every indication so far has not been the case."

Together with the additional security features and other features that are simply designed to satisfy those who make purchasing decisions for large companies, the new Gmail has a few more excursions, including Smart Compose, using AI to try to complete to Complete your mind while writing a message. My colleague Mark Wilson tried the technology and found it better on "meaningless conversations" than "serious subjects", an assessment that does not seem to depend on how Murphy uses the feature – she explains that she concentrates on the middle of her emails and accepts help from Smart Compose for "fluff top and fluff bottom." (In addition, smart answers, which originated in Gmail, come to Google Hangouts chat feature.)

G's new email investigation tool. [Image: courtesy of Google]

Security Surveys Made Easier

Director of Engineering Elissa Murphy [Photo: courtesy of Google]

Another new e-mail function, the "Investigation Tool", is still reserved for the Early Adopter Program, and a part of the security center used by G Suite administrators. Designed to clean up after attacks as phishing attempts, it enables effective checking of multiple email accounts from a dashboard. If you were in charge of such an effort, you could, for example, search for users who received a fraudulent message referring to their 401K accounts. Once you've found them, you can delete dangerous messages in bulk and then swipe in to determine if any of the recipients had been tempted to share confidential information outside of your business. It's not that this survey would otherwise be impossible: "You'll get logs from multiple places, you're running a script, and eventually you'll get there," Murphy says. "The point is to make it a one-stop shop."

Google Hangouts gets smart answers that occurred in Gmail. [Animation: courtesy of Google]

Google Voice writ large

In an announcement I would not have expected, Google presents a corporate edition of Google Voice, its venerable (but sometimes neglected) consumer-oriented service that gives you a phone number that is not associated with a particular phone . First available to members of the G Suite Early Adopter Program – with Pricing TBD The new version allows companies to manage numbers in bulk, port in existing numbers, and create routing trees. It will also be integrated with its G-buddies: "If someone is out of the office and known to be so because of his calendar, we can call a backup person," says Raghavan.

The company has been testing Google Voice's new business incarnation since last year. "We thought we'd start with smaller companies, but we actually found quite big companies that demanded it quite difficult." Raghavan says.

Google Docs & # 39; new grammar controls. [Photo: courtesy of Google]

Translation to Correct English

Members of the G Suite Early Adopter Program get a grammar check feature built into the Docs word processor – which at first blush may sound like it's already built into Microsoft Word or an alternative to using grammatically. (Last year, Microsoft also provided Word AI-infused features designed to help users avoid linguistic faux pas as passive phrasing and repetitive wording.) The Raghavan says that Google's new feature is different from existing because it exploits the Company long experience with automated translation of languages: "Our grammar correction takes the wrong English and translates it to correct English. It's not a crazy rule-based approach, where you have to throw people on it to maintain it."

The Raghavan says the grammar tool grew of Google's thinking about the Google Assistant and how to extend its AI drive helpfulness to a business context. Just providing a Google Home-type smart speaker optimized for work scenarios would satisfy "a very narrow usage case" compared to G suite apps with more intelligence, "he says.

More Comprehensive Search

In February 2017 Google introduced Cloud Search, a service that allows workers to find documents and coworkers while giving companies control over what information is not shared. Now it gives this search engine the ability to retrieve information stored in non-Google archives, including those that companies can host on their own servers, such as Microsoft's SharePoint. The goal is to make a company's internal search as simple as well, Googling something: "In the past, people had to put their business index on their own, which was quite powerful," says Murphy.

A-la carte storage

] The fact that businesses are interested in searching SharePoint using Google's engine indicates that even companies that are fascinated by aspects of Google's sales outlet do not necessarily want to expel their Microsoft products in a single epoch-shifting movement. That reality is also reflected in Google's decision to begin releasing G Suite Drive storage in Drive Enterprise, a standalone service that companies can pay for if they are not interested in the other components.

Of course, the goal is to get such companies interested in everything G Suite offers. As Murphy says, "We hope to give people the flexibility to buy it if that's what they want and then finish upgrading to the entire package."

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