Back in 2006, when Google bought the web word processor Writely, the idea of running office apps inside a browser seemed strange. We’d only just got used to checking our email on the web, and online apps just didn’t have the power or the complexity to compete with desktop applications. 10 years later, the entire tech landscape has changed and evolved. In fact, Google’s main competitors, Microsoft and Apple, have followed Google’s wake by dragging their own office suites onto the web in cut-down form. While it’s true that desktop apps remain more powerful, the benefits of running everything in the cloud are many and varied: instant saves, constant backups, easy file sharing and collaboration, the ability to access work from anywhere, and so on. In this post, we will check out the state of G Suite by Google in 2020 and whether it is still as useful as it was back when it was launched.
What is G Suite?
G Suite is Google’s suite of intelligent apps. This was formerly known as Google Apps, till it was re-branded in late 2016. We primarily recommend G Suite for clients that need email hosting for their business. However, G Suite is much more than just email. It also includes a variety of apps and features that can come in quite handy. In fact, you’re probably already using or are familiar with some of them.
With that in mind, who else should be interested in using G Suite? Try G Suite for 14 days.
Who should use G Suite?
- Small-to-medium businesses looking to use an application toolset where their teams can easily collaborate and share files, and where administrators can control access and security settings.
- Solopreneurs or freelancers who want an affordable solution for email and productivity tools, and who want to be able to easily share work with clients and partners.
- Schools and educational institutions who want to enable collaboration between teachers and students (note – there is a version of G Suite for Education that is free)
- Non-profits who want to take advantage of G Suite’s free version for non-profits.
- Anyone who prefers to work out of the cloud, as opposed to using desktop solutions and local storage.
What Applications are in G Suite?
In this section, we will consider some of the most essential applications that are embedded in G Suite. These applications are the main reasons why G Suite is so much better than the other options on the market.
At the very core of G Suite is Gmail, an application that you are probably familiar with, whether you’ve used it for personal or professional email.
While the interface for G Suite’s version of Gmail is pretty much identical to the Gmail you’d use for personal email; it actually includes a few enhanced features. Aside from being able to use an email address with your own domain, these include:
- Being able to read and draft emails offline
- Being able to create group email addresses
- Enabling read receipts
- Allowing users to use Gmail in other mail clients (e.g. Outlook)
- Allowing users to delegate mailbox access to others
- Enabling S/MIME encryption
- And more
Pros of Gmail
- Gmail feels familiar and is generally easy to use.
- Within the Gmail application, you’re also able to access Hangouts Meet for video calls, and also chat with colleagues.
- There are also plenty of handy extensions you can use, such as Streak, which allows for email tracking and mail merge, and Checker Plus for managing multiple Gmail accounts.
Cons of Gmail
- It feels very different for users who are accustomed to using software like Outlook.
- At times it can feel a bit limited. For example, Gmail makes use of labels rather than folders, which might not be convenient for everyone.
Calendar is another popular application that requires little introduction. Like Gmail, G Suite’s version of calendar is similar to the free version that you might already be familiar with. Calendars can easily be shared between team members, and integrate with other G Suite applications like Gmail and Hangouts. Try G Suite for 14 days.
Pros of Calendar
- Calendar is designed to allow users to easily share events, meetings, tasks and reminders, and even allows you to see the availability of resources such as meeting rooms and equipment.
- There’s a useful ‘Find a time’ feature that lets you view multiple users’ calendars to find free slots.
- It lets you import external calendars like Outlook and iCal, and even syncs with Exchange calendars if you need to keep using them.
Google Drive allows you to store, access, and share your files in one secure place. You then have easy access to them from any device. G Suite Basic plans come with 30GB of storage for every employee. G Suite’s Business, Enterprise, and Teams editions provide unlimited storage so you will always have enough space for your files. Note: If you’re a smaller team with fewer than 5 users, you only get 1TB/user.
The paid version of Google Drive gives you twice the storage of your free personal drive and Gmail, 24/7 support, sharing controls, and advanced reporting. Try G Suite for 14 days.
Pros of Google Drive
- If you haven’t used Google Drive before, one of the best things we like about it is the amazing search functionality!
Google Docs and Google Sheets and Slides
These allow you to create and edit text documents and spreadsheets right in your browser. Import your documents to make them instantly editable, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PDF files. You can now even collaborate and comment on Microsoft Office files without it having to convert to Google’s format automatically.
You can also export to common third-party formats. This makes it easy to collaborate with other individuals or companies and send files back and forth, without ever needing to install or purchase additional software. Try G Suite for 14 days.
Pros of Google Docs and Slides
- These productivity tools work fast, and changes are made in real-time – no saving is required.
- You can have multiple users collaborating on the same document at the same time, without having to worry about conflicting changes.
- The commenting system, especially for Docs, works extremely well.
- The version control is great – you can revert back to old versions, which get saved automatically, very easily.
Cons of Google Docs and Slides
- As they’re all web-based, it’s worth noting that Docs, Sheets and Slides aren’t quite as powerful as the desktop versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
- It doesn’t offer all the functionality you’d find in Microsoft’s applications (e.g. formatting flexibility, advanced spreadsheet formulas), so might not be ideal if you need to create documents with these features.
Google Hangouts and Meet
This is a dedicated group workspace with 1:1 chat and group chat. You can make conversations more efficient by interacting directly with deeply integrated Google bots and 3rd party apps. Hangouts Chat is included for free with all G Suite plans. Try G Suite for 14 days.
Pros of Google Hangouts
- You can use these tools straight from your email without having to access a separate application.
- As you’d expect, sharing Drive files and documents within both tools is seamless.
- Both tools are pretty powerful, too. Chat supports up to 28 languages, and Meet has integrations with calendar, presentation features, and even the ability to Livestream.
- Currently, the ability to record and save meetings is only available on G Suite’s highest-level plan – it would be nice to offer this useful feature on the lower and mid-level plans too.
Google Keep seems to be one of those well-kept secrets that nobody knows about. If you’re looking for a basic Evernote alternative, Google Keep rocks! This is a great little tool regardless of whether or not you’re using G Suite. Being a Google product, it works flawlessly within the Google ecosystem.
It can be an easy way to keep those frequently asked questions you get from customers in a convenient place. Create to-do lists, notes, and set reminders to stay on track. Everything syncs across your devices, so what’s important is always in reach. Easily share them with your team and archive them when you’re done. And once again Google’s search works flawlessly with it. Try G Suite for 14 days.
Benefits of using G Suite
While all those features above are great, now it’s time to dive into some of the real benefits of using G Suite, especially if you are using it for business.
- Domain-Based Email
That @gmail.com might make you look kind of like an amateur. With G Suite, you get the power of Gmail but get to front-end it with your own email address at your own domain.
- Storage and Support
In addition, you get 30 GB of storage space per account, 24/7 professional support, the ability to synchronize to Microsoft Outlook and other email providers, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
- Email Marketing Capabilities
Given the above-listed features, you can run a sophisticated email marketing center through your G Suite email account. G Suite allows you to create up to 30 email aliases per user account, allowing you to receive and send email to (for example) firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and so on, all in a single user’s inbox.
- Document Creation, Collaboration, and Storage
G Suite’s tools for document creation and collaboration are extremely powerful. There’s Docs for written content, Sheets for spreadsheets, and Slides for presentations. All three connect seamlessly to the Drive storage component of G Suites, and you can share documents freely within your entire organization on any device, whether Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS.
You can configure G Suite to work offline as well, allowing you to achieve maximum productivity whether you’re on the net or on the go. All the G Suite productivity tools were designed with collaboration in mind so sharing workflows with other people, whether inside or outside of your organization, could not be simpler.
- Access Control
All that content can be made public-facing, with powerful access controls – you can make entire sections of your business content library available for public view, letting you put your presentations and documents out there for the world to see. You can also share more specifically by sharing individual files with whoever you want to collaborate with. Drive provides each user with 30 GB of free storage (upgrades to 1 TB or infinite storage are easy to get and reasonably priced), shared with your Gmail account.
- Easy Website Creation
Okay so, storage is great and everything but when you really want to share your vision with the world, you need a website. G Suite has you covered with Sites, a powerful and flexible way to create intranets, wikis, and external websites with tremendous simplicity. No coding knowledge or HTML expertise is required; the Site’s interface lets you drag and drop design elements to create professional-looking sites quickly and easily.
- Integration with Drive
- Video Conferencing
Video conferencing has been the promise of the future for a long while now, but G Suite Hangouts has actually made it practical and inexpensive. You can host video chats with up to 25 members, and those chats have a lot of collaborative power. Participants can share screens, allowing seamless integration of a video/audio feed while working together on documents. You can host your Hangouts on Air, a service that automatically Livestreams a Hangout and simultaneously archives it to your YouTube account, allowing you to create a steady stream of video content just from your meetings.
- Shared Calendar
One of the most powerful tools in G Suite is the shared Calendar feature. Everyone in your organization can have their own calendar, and you can also create shared calendars for teams. Even better, you can make a business calendar publicly available, giving all your customers access to what your company has scheduled! Calendar integrates smoothly with other G Suite tools so that users can add calendar appointments effortlessly via Gmail, and put Hangout links on the calendar so that one click will automatically bring the Hangout to life.
G Suite Pricing
G Suite edition comes in 3 amazing packages to choose from depending on your need or your organization needs. G Suite pricing starts as low as $6 per user per month for Basic, $12 per user per month for Business, and $25 per user per month for Enterprise.
Each plan comes with a 14 days free trial. Try it free for 14 days.
We believe that G Suite is an excellent solution for professional or business users that want to enjoy all the benefits listed above. It is also rather affordable when compared with products that offer similar features.