What is G Suite?
G Suite is a collection of business, productivity, collaboration, and education software developed and powered by Google. The primary G Suite tools include Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Calendar, Google+, Sites, Hangouts, and Keep.
G Suite was released 12 years ago as “Google Apps for Your Domain”. The initial launch included Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, and Google Page Creator (now known as Sites). Google Apps for Education followed two months later.
Over the last 10 years, Google released various tools and updates as part of its application suite. Google Apps was rebranded to G Suite in September of 2016, and not long after, the company launched its first hardware product: Jamboard.
The G Suite platform also includes the G Suite Marketplace (which was originally released in 2010), through which you can install third-party cloud applications to use as part of your collection of G Suite tools.
Who uses G Suite?
Both businesses and individuals use G Suite.
While G Suite services are free for consumers, businesses have to pay for enterprise features such as a custom email domain, unlimited cloud storage, additional administrative and marketing tools, and 24/7 support. (We’ll get into the G Suite pricing structure later.)
If businesses have multiple users on their G Suite, they also have to pay per person.
Unlike other free consumer software, though, free G Suite users don’t see ads while using the services. Bonus: Google doesn’t use the information stored in G Suite applications and accounts for advertisement purposes.
The G Suite Products
Google offers a wide variety of products for both personal and enterprise use. Most are accessible with a Google account (by tapping the menu in the top right corner), though some need to be installed as Google Chrome extensions to gain full functionality.
Later, we’ll walk through how to set up and manage your G Suite account, but for now, let’s review the different tools available in your G Suite.
Gmail is the G Suite email software. It was released in 2004 and now has over 1 billion users worldwide.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy 30GB of storage space, custom company email addresses ([email protected]), unlimited Google Group email addresses, 24/7 phone and email support, and compatible add-ons available through the G Suite Marketplace.
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Google Drive is the G Suite cloud storage platform and was launched in 2012. Drive manages all of your company’s content and supports collaboration across your entire organization. It also allows you to view various file formats so you don’t have to download additional software to your devices.
Depending on the G Suite plan, businesses enjoy 30GB, 1TB, or unlimited storage per user and audit and reporting insights for Drive content.
Docs, Sheets, and Slides
Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides are the G Suite word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation programs, respectively. They were added to the platform in 2006.
These programs allow real-time collaboration, save changes automatically, and track revision history. Users can insert comments, suggest edits, communicate through a built-in chat, and create templates for future use.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy unlimited revision history among other perks.
Google Forms is the G Suite web form and survey tool. Also launched in 2006, Forms shares many of the same features as Docs, Sheets, and Slides, such as automatic saving, real-time collaboration, and template creation. To collect data through Forms, users can personalize surveys or quizzes, send respondents the URL, and review the data (that’s automatically collected in Sheets).
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Google Calendar is the G Suite online calendar. It was launched in 2006 and integrates with Gmail to manage schedules, appointments, meetings, and tasks (via Google Tasks).
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy smart scheduling (where employees can see open windows of time on coworkers’ calendars), calendars for Google Groups, calendars for meeting rooms and shared resources, public calendars so customers can view company events, and easy migration from external calendars (e.g. iCal, Outlook, or Exchange).
Google+ is the G Suite social network. It was launched in 2011, and as of October 2018, Google is planning to sunset Google+ for consumers in April 2019.
But, with a G Suite plan, businesses can still enjoy the service as well as restricted communities and enhanced privacy controls.
Google Sites is the G Suite website builder. It was added to the platform in 2008 and allows users to create websites with little to no coding knowledge or design skills. Landing page and project websites can be created using pre-made templates and published internally or publicly.
Google Hangouts is the G Suite communication and messaging tool. Originally launched in 2006 as Google Talk, Hangouts supports text, voice and video conversations (for up to 25 participants) and can be used between desktop and mobile devices. It’s also a common alternative to Slack.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy a seamless integration with Calendar, screen sharing for participants, auto focus and intelligent muting features, public livestreams automatically saved in YouTube, and custom administrative controls.
Google Keep is the G Suite note-taking tool. The newest addition to the G Suite platform, Keep can be used to create, organize, and share memos, lists, images and voice notes across multiple devices. It’s available as a Chrome download and mobile application.
With a G Suite plan, businesses enjoy a seamless integration with Google Docs among other perks.