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Google Workspace Essentials: Everything You Need to Know

As lockdown restrictions continue, the vast majority of businesses continue to operate behind closed doors. However, it’s not all bad news, and Google has been giving workers around the world plenty of silver linings. This week, Damson Cloud’s Fintan Murphy takes a look at Google’s new product SKU, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) Essentials. We look at what it offers, why you would want it and how much it costs. Let’s get started!

Remote working has become the new normal, and over the past couple of months we’ve been building up a series of knowledge resources on working from home. Demand for video conferencing solutions has been huge, and there’s a battle for supremacy between these solutions, including the big-hitters like Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom (we’ve covered some of this previously in our tips for video conferencing etiquette - check them out).

Google Workspace Essentials: Responding to Demand

With the arrival of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) Essentials, however, we see their response to the huge demand for their conferencing tool, Google Meet. Up until now, this was only available as part of a Google Workspace Package, which included Mail, Calendar and all of those standard Google tools. This increase in demand is mindblowing: Google recently reported 100 million active participants on a daily basis, with a 60 percent increase in usage day-on-day. That’s paired with the fact that they are now reporting over 3 billion minutes being used on the service every single day - wow.

The battle for video conferencing dominance has secured some quick wins for the customer, however. We’ve seen these solutions scramble to release new features, with Google releasing tiled view on Google Meets, and also finally unveiling external Google Chats, which we covered in our last video. We’ve also seen things like moderator or host control, allowing users to control whether someone is muted or present in the call. These types of features include the ability to prevent people from accidentally joining your call - obviously important stuff in the current climate.

Up until now, there’s been Google Workspace Basic, Google Workspace Business and Google Workspace Enterprise. As well as a recent edition Drive Enterprise, this was the first time that Google released a separate SKU allowing for the purchase of one of its apps or products separately from the rest. Google has taken some inspiration from this approach with Google Workspace Essentials, taking Google Meet and Google Drive and separating them out. At this point it’s important to remember that this new SKU comes in the form of two products: Google Workspace Essentials and Google Workspace Essentials Enterprise.

New Features and Extras We Love

Within Google Workspace Essentials, users can enjoy participating in calls with over 150 participants, with 300 hours of video calling (if you ever need to hold a 300 hour video call, we’d love to know why. But hey - it’s a great feature). But what separates this product from the basic forms of Hangouts and Google Meets? Well, for a start, you can actually record your Google Meets sessions, as well as dialling in via mobile or landline - perfect for remote working teams, as well as those working with weaker broadband connections.

The benefits of Google Workspace Essentials don’t stop there. There’s a selection of nifty extras, including a live streaming function in Google Workspace Essentials for Enterprise (this is also available in Google Workspace for Enterprise, to avoid any confusion). With such a broad range of products on offer, it's fair to ask who Google Essentials is actually for. Who will be interested in this new product?

If you already have Google Workspace for its Mail and Calendar functions, you won’t have much use for Google Enterprise. Who this product is really built for is an organisation who may already have an email and calendar solution, but may need an enterprise-grade video conferencing solution. What’s interesting here is that you can set it up as a team within an organisation, meaning that you won’t have to buy it for your entire business, but only the people who will be actively using it.

What truly separates Google Workspace Essentials from other solutions on the market is realised in the collaboration it facilitates, combining Google Meet with Google Drive. The integration and the enterprise grade security are the real selling points behind the product, and in our opinion are what really separates it from systems like Zoom and Skype. Beyond this, you also have 100gb of storage per user and 2tb of shared storage, as well the editor and tools like Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets. We’ll look into comparing these products fully in the near future, so watch this space!

Last but not least, we’d like to cover that all-important issue: pricing. Google Workspace Essentials is priced at $10 per user per month. Meanwhile, Google Workspace Essentials hasn’t yet been priced, and this will be announced later in the year. However, we’d like to remind followers of Damson Cloud that Google has offered Google Workspace Essentials Enterprise Edition free of charge to all businesses until September - perfect if you’re frustrated with your current video conferencing solution or if you’d like to try a new one.

***We've put together some handy resources which compare some of the strengths and weaknesses of these products, and we reckon Google Meet is the clear winner. You can access these resources in a PDF in this link: Google Workspace Essentials Compared. Check it out and thank us later!***

More About Damson Cloud

That brings us to the end of this week’s blog. If there’s anything you think we’ve missed about Google Workspace Essentials, feel free to let us know in the comments. And, as always - don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to Damson Cloud for more industry-leading insights.

As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialises in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including Google Workspace, Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.

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The team at Damson Cloud have the expertise to support your business and help you achieve success, regardless of whether you’re new to Google Workspace or looking to enhance your existing usage.