What is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace is an document management system used by a wide range of businesses to store their company’s files and maximize workflow efficiency. Over 6 million users have used Google Workspace to manage their documents and teams. Its standout features are its document creation and collaboration tools.
Table of Contents
- What is Google Workspace?
- Google Workspace Review Summary
- Google Workspace Pricing & Cost
- Google Workspace Features
- Google Workspace Integrations
- Google Workspace Customer Service
- Google Workspace Alternatives & Competitors
- Is Google Workspace Right For You?
Google Workspace Review Summary
Google Workspace was launched in 2006 as Google Apps for Your Domain. It has since gone through a number of rebrands and was, until recently, known as G Suite. Google Workspace has served over 6 million businesses from its headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Google Workspace’ features are more robust than standard document management tools like Dropbox Business and Box. Its strongest features include its document creation capabilities and collaboration tools.
Google Workspace’s pricing starts at $6 per month per user. It is one of the more affordable solutions on the market today. It is generally more affordable than its closest competitor, Microsoft 365.
Overall, Google Workspace is a powerful document management solution used by a diverse range of businesses. It’s best for businesses interested in content creation and team collaboration. Businesses looking for an entire suite of business tools rather than simple document storage features will find Workspace particularly beneficial.
Google Workspace Pricing & Cost
Google Workspace pricing starts at $6 per month per user. Its Business Starter plan comes with 30 GB of storage per user. More expensive plans come with additional features and more monthly meetings.
|Plan||Price per User||Storage per User||Features|
|Business Starter||$6||30 GB|
|Business Standard||$12||2 TB|
|Business Plus||$18||5 TB|
Google Workspace Features
Let’s discuss the major features that Google Workspace offers and how they can help your document management needs. Product screenshots are included to add context and demonstrate the user interface.
Google Workspace’s admin console is very robust. Workspace offers some of the most flexible permissions and security settings of all document management systems.
Google Workspace’s team member dashboard is user friendly and comes with helpful team management features.
You can sort your members by a number of filters. Some of the filters provided include:
- Admin role
- Data transfer status
Setting permissions in Google Workspace is easy to do. There are a number of top-level and individual permissions you’re able to set as an administrator. Be forewarned that this level of complexity comes with a steeper learning curve than alternatives like Dropbox Business.
Permissions can be set in individual user’s profiles. Users can be assigned to various roles that all come with respective permissions. These roles also be scoped down to specific groups or applied to the entirety of your Google Workspace team base.
If you want to set specific permissions to access individual files that you create in Google Docs Editors or Google Drive, you can do so in those applications directly.
Security in Google Workspace is just as robust as its permissions and user settings. You can change settings in the following security categories:
- Alert center
- Data protection
- Password management
- Two-factor authentication
- Single sign-on
Rules are Google Workspace’s standout security feature. They are essentially alerts that are automatically sent when certain conditions are met. For example, users will be alerted if their password has been changed or if there has been suspicious activity on their account. We will discuss rules more in the workflow automation section.
Cloud storage options are powerful in Google Workspace. They are mainly found in Workspace’s content creation and file storage applications: Google Docs Editors and Google Drive. As mentioned above, the entry plan comes with 30GB of storage per user.
Two key storage features are offline access and file recovery. Offline access is easy to set up and version history is superb. The biggest limitation is that files can only be recovered 25 days after deletion.
Accessing files offline in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive is simple. Unlike competitors, you can enable offline access through any document creation application.
Because these applications are run through your browser, you can access files offline on virtually any computer operating system. You can also access them through any iOS or Android device.
Google Workspace applications do not have a flexible file recovery timeline. They can only be recovered up to 25 days after their deletion. Alternatives like Dropbox Business and Box can recover files up to 180 days after deletion, or for an unlimited period of time, respectively.
Workspace’s file version histories, however, are the best we’ve analyzed in this category. Below is an example of version history in Google Docs.
Document Version Control
Version histories across Google Workspace applications have the same format. You have access to every version that’s been autosaved. From there, you can see and sort through all changes that were made in each version.
This means that visualizing edits over time is easier in Google Workspace than alternatives like Dropbox Business or Box. This will especially be helpful for your business if your team goes through many edit cycles.
Google Workspace is particularly powerful because you can use a single, integrated system to create and organize files. Workspace excels at document creation due to its file creation suite: Google Docs Editor. Organizing files, however, is more complicated than alternatives.
You can create a wide variety of document types in Google Workspace. You can make documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. All of these creators are feature rich and directly integrated with every other Google Workspace application.
One additional advantage of document creation in Google Workspace is its export capabilities. You can export Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides as their respective Microsoft 365 file types. This added level of flexibility is helpful if you need to share files with an Microsoft 365 user.
All files created in Google Docs Editors are stored in Google Drive. Although Drive is a powerful storage feature, organization is not up to par with competitors like Dropbox Business.
Files in Google Drive are automatically sorted by last modified. Generally speaking, visualizing your document and folder hierarchy is a more user friendly experience in Dropbox Business than it is in Google Workspace. This means that filtering files and organizing them into folders will be limiting for your workflow.
Google Workspace’s various applications facilitate collaboration better than any other document management software. You can collaborate with team members and outside parties on all of Workspace’s document types. You can also run communication through Gmail, Google Chat, and Google Meet.
Google Docs Editors
You can collaborate on documents in real time with anyone you invite to your file. Although alternatives like Box and Dropbox Business have simple text editors to facilitate collaboration, Google Workspace allows you and your team to comment and edit the documents themselves.
Every service offered in Google Docs Editors is free of charge. Here are some of the content types you can manage with Google Docs Editors:
- Web forms
- Web pages
Smart canvas serves as a hub for collaboration. It incorporates all of Google Docs Edtors's document creators and combines them with Workspace's collaboration features. This means you can coordinate on projects by sharing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations from your Google Drive, and then immediately discuss on Google Meet or Google Chat.
You can make comments on Google Workspace’s three primary document types: Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Commenting is straightforward, but cannot be accomplished without opening individual files.
As you can see above, you can highlight the exact text you want to comment on. You can also highlight and comment on any media file that Google Workspace supports.
Workspace comes with the additional advantage of commenting directly on files through its interface. This means that if you upload a pdf file to your team's drive, you do not need to file it up in Google Docs to do so. This workflow is comparable to Box and more efficient than Microsoft 365.
Google Workspace comes with an entire suite of communication tools. Gmail, Google Chat, and Google Meet are all very powerful ways to communicate with your team and outside parties.
Note that all three of these tools are free to use for anyone with a Google account. This is another example of Google Workspace accommodating collaboration with potential clients and outside connections.
You can share an unlimited number of files in Google Workspace. You can, however, upload individual files up to 5 TB. You can share these large files with links that Google Drive generates for you.
One standout feature in this category is Gmail’s integration with Google Drive. If you want to share large files through email attachments, Gmail will automatically upload that file to Drive for you and generate a link in your email.
Both of these applications can be downloaded in the Google Workspace Marketplace. Note that you have to purchase separate subscriptions to use these software tools.
Although workflow automations in Google Workspace are very powerful, they have the steepest learning curve we’ve come across in the document management space. You can automate workflows with security rules and Google Apps Script.
Security rules in Google Workspace are automated alerts triggered when certain conditions are met. For example, users will be notified if their password has been changed or if your domain has received phishing messages.
As you can see above, there are many default security rules in all Workspace accounts. However, you can create the following security rules yourself depending on your Google Workspace plan:
- Reporting: These are basic alerts you can create based on your organization’s activity.
- Data protection: These are alerts that are specifically tied to activity in your domain’s Google Drive.
- Activity: These are rules that automate actions in response to activity within your domain.
Google Apps Script
Although Apps Script might seem inaccessible to many new users, it comes with a number of premade automations to choose from. Here are some of the most helpful workflow automations your business could leverage:
|Agenda maker||Creates an agenda for any Google Calendar event you’ve created|
|Custom sales report||Automatically generates presentations using Google Sheets for customers|
|Student feedback||Drafts email replies to course feedback via Google Forms|
|Mail merge||Creates and executes mail merges using Gmail and Google Sheets|
|Onboarding||Onboards new hires using Google Forms and Sheets|
Google Workspace Integrations
Google Workspace comes with over 750 third party integrations. These can be downloaded through the Google Workspace Marketplace by you or your team members. Here are some popular integrations Google Workspace supports:
- Copper CRM
- Zoho Invoice
Google Workspace Customer Service
Google Workspace’s customer support team is quick to respond and attentive. They are reachable through phone, live chat, and email.
Google Workspace’s most helpful secondary resource is its forum page: Google Workspace Community. This is a very helpful resource that you can use to troubleshoot solutions and help out other Google Workspace members.
|Customer Support Channels||Phone, live chat, email|
|Other Support Resources||Community page|
|Application Status Page||Yes|
Google Workspace Alternatives & Competitors
Google Workspace has a number of competitors. Its most comparable alternative is Microsoft 365.
Here’s a full list of Google Workspace competitors:
- Microsoft 365
- Dropbox Business
- Zoho WorkDrive
Is Google Workspace Right For You?
Overall, Google Workspace is a feature-rich document management solution used by a diverse range of businesses. Google Workspace can be leveraged to handle far more for your business than just document management. It is our top recommendation for businesses in need of an all-in-one solution capable of creating documents, storing files, and facilitating collaboration.
If you're interested, you can try Google Workspace today.