What is Google Workspace Essentials and Why Should I Use It?

Who knew that 2020 would be the year the world dove headfirst into workplace cloud collaboration? With workers across all industries heading from their desks at HQs to home offices, the way the world works is changing. Possibly forever.

For many companies, a widespread remote workforce is a new concept. Navigating how to stay connected to workers from different locations quickly and all at once challenged many organizations to find a solution. Many turned to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) cloud collaboration tools from Google.

In some cases, however, companies didn’t need the Gmail or Google Calendar features as they already had solutions that worked for them but still wanted to explore cloud-based collaboration and productivity for a work-from-anywhere environment. 

Google Cloud recently addressed this by rolling out a Google Workspace Essentials solution for those who want to try G Suite but don’t want to abandon their current email and calendar platforms.

What is G Suite Essentials?

Google Workspace Essentials gives you the most collaborative and secure features of the full Google Workspace package, minus Gmail and Google Calendar to help your teams work together, even when they aren’t in the same office or time zone. These features include Docs, Sheets, Slides and Google Meet, as well as several other features. You also get access to Google Drive.

This latest, scaled-back version of Google Workspace helps organizations address how to effectively manage a remote team and stay connected and productive during a remote work day in this growing work-from-anywhere environment. It’s available in standard and enterprise editions, both of which work with Microsoft Office on any device. You also get offline access. Any changes you make in this mode will automatically sync as soon as you have an internet connection.

A scaled-back version of Google Workspace helps organizations address how to effectively manage a remote team and stay connected and productive in this growing work-from-anywhere environment. @OnixNetworking

If you’ve never used Google Workspace's cloud collaboration tools before, here’s a look at how its key cloud-native apps can benefit your organization on a daily basis. 

Google Docs

Access, create and edit documents in the cloud. You get smart editing and styling tools so you can format text with different fonts, add links, insert images and create tables. And you’ll never have to worry about saving documents. Docs automatically saves your work as you type and provides a detailed revision history of all changes made from the time the file was created.

Google Sheets

When you create a cloud-based spreadsheet using Sheets, you simplify common spreadsheet tasks. You get the ability to create eye-catching charts and graphs using built-in formulas, pivot tables and conditional formatting options. Create your own files or choose from a library of pre-built spreadsheets.

Google Slides

Take your presentation creation and sharing to the cloud with Slides. You can create, edit, collaborate and present wherever you are, using a large library of fonts and presentation themes, as well as the ability to embed videos and animations. 

Because all of Docs, Sheets and Slides are cloud-native, they allow for real-time collaboration and editing. All users can open the document at the same time and work together, seeing each other’s changes as they go. They also can chat and comment as they edit.

Google Drive

This cloud-based, searchable storage solution integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace’s cloud-native Docs, Sheets and Slides. You also can integrate drive with your existing technology, such as Microsoft Office, without needing to convert file formats. Users also can store up to 100 additional file types, from PDFs to CAD files and more and work seamlessly across any device or browser.

Google Meet

When you look into how to use Google Meet and launch your first meeting, you’ll get secure, enterprise-grade videoconferencing for a seamless, reliable and user-friendly meeting experience. You’re also able to record meetings and save them to Google Drive to share with team members who can’t attend. When using Google Meet, Microsoft Office users can download a plug-in that allows them to join meetings directly from their Outlook calendars.

Which Google Workspace Essentials Edition is Right for My Organization?

Google Workspace Essentials comes in two editions, the standard version which is free to use through September 30, 2020, and the Enterprise edition, which is ideal for larger organizations that need more meeting power and storage limits. This handy chart gives you an at-a-glance comparison.

G Suite Essentials Comparison (1)The different versions also vary in security and management features. G Suite Essentials users get 24/7 standard support, while Enterprise edition users enjoy 24/7 priority support with a one-hour target response time for critical issues.

From the admin management side of things, both editions offer encryption in transit and include Advanced Protection Program enrollment. The Enterprise edition also includes data loss prevention (DLP) for Drive, context-aware access, data regions, eDiscovery for files and remote endpoint management.

Because Google Workspace Essentials is designed to integrate with (and complement) your existing workplace technology, you don’t have to commit to a full changeover deployment. You get the Google Workspace experience while maintaining your existing environment. 

Google Workspace Essentials gives you and your team members the best of both worlds — familiar email and calendar management with cloud-based collaboration. It’s a great way to manage your teams and also alleviate remote worker FOMO (fear of missing out.)

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Meet the Author

John Lawler, Director of Cloud Professional Services

John Lawler, Director of Cloud Professional Services

John oversees all deployments of Google Workspace and Chrome and post-deployment services that help customers see the value in the entire Google platform. He has been helping organizations go Google since 2009.

More Posts By John Lawler, Director of Cloud Professional Services

get the details on Google Workspace Essentials

Get the most collaborative and secure features of the full Google Workspace package, minus Gmail and Google Calendar. Enjoy Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Meet, Google Drive other features. 

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