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G Suite update aimed squarely at the enterprise

Google aims to make G Suite more secure and easier to use in its latest update. One expert sees the added capabilities as Google trying to match the needs of the enterprise.

The latest Google G Suite update is aimed at making the suite applications more attractive to enterprises by emphasizing collaboration, application management and security.

The G Suite update, unveiled at Google Cloud Next earlier this month, includes the following:

  • the ability to see who and what was edited in G Suite on the Activity dashboard;
  • the ability to edit Microsoft Office files within Google Docs;
  • Sheets and Slides, Google's version of Excel and PowerPoint; and
  • improvements to using enterprise applications within G Suite.

"The primary target Google has here is the frontline worker," said Mark Bowker, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass. "A frontline worker may not have a device assigned to them or given to them by IT. [IT's] goal is to put devices, office productivity and collaboration tools to the frontline worker."

Working in Office documents within G Suite can help both IT admins and end users by removing configuration issues or human error when trying to transfer information from an Office document to a Google Doc.

"Formatting doesn't matter," Bowker said. "The idea is you can take that Office document into Google Docs and work on it collaboratively."

The G Suite update also includes an app integration with G Suite Add-ons, which enables employees to complete tasks from other apps directly in G Suite. The app integration, currently in beta, means employees don't have to toggle between interfaces.

G Suite will also provide admin control of third-party apps, which gives admins the ability to control what's shared, as well as manage permissions. Enterprise apps Google plans to integrate include DocuSign, Evernote, Salesforce, Cisco, Box and Workfront.

"This is about Google trying to match the enterprise needs," Bowker said. "For a company that may have hundreds or thousands of employees, adapting the needs of the enterprise around collaboration, management and security is vital."

G Suite app integration
A screenshot of Gmail in G Suite shows the integration of third-party apps like Evernote directly into G Suite. The new feature is part of a G Suite upgrade unveiled at the Google Cloud Next conference.

Google Assistant, a virtual assistant that uses natural language processing, is also included in the G Suite update. Employees can integrate Google Assistant into their calendar applications to keep track of upcoming meetings, regardless of the device an employee is using. Google Assistant for G Suite is currently in beta.

This is about Google trying to match the enterprise needs.
Mark BowkerAnalyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

Google also unveiled new security capabilities in its G Suite update. IT admins can now automate alerts and program the next best action with a security center investigation tool and assess their organization's exposure to security issues. They can use the alert center to issue and assign alerts to other admins. Both the security center and alert center features are currently in beta.

The security improvements and management capabilities provided by the G Suite update may make it a more appealing option for enterprises, according to Bowker.

"Google wants it to be simple for IT professionals to administrate that Chrome environment better and more securely," he said.

Pricing for G Suite is tiered:

  • G Suite Basic is $50 per user, per year.
  • G Suite Business is $120 per user, per year.
  • G Suite Enterprise is $300 per user, per year.

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