At its Google Next conference in San Francisco, March 8-10, Google unleashed its new and razor sharp enterprise focused messaging. With around 10,000+ attendees, Google focused its messaging on enterprise grade security, cloud scale, machine learning and showed off its enhanced G Suite (formerly Google Apps) offering as an intelligent platform to boost collaboration and productivity. While there were a lot of announcements at the conference, I was particularly focused around G Suite and related announcements in that context. In fact, with this push to the enterprise, there is a prominent theme around the seamless integration between all of Google’s services.
As an analyst tracking the collaboration and productivity space, I was highly anticipating the G Suite set of announcements. At Next, Google unveiled the new Hangouts experience with Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet respectively. With Hangouts Chat, clearly, Google has been tracking the mobile team messaging and collaboration apps space, with offerings such as Slack, Cisco Spark, Atlassian HipChat and Unify Circuit, with a focus on getting it right.
Hangouts Chat is a persistent conversational space or environment that includes threaded conversations, file sharing and content integration, including integration with all Google services. As a platform, Hangouts will have third party developers bring in bots to perform and automate specific tasks. There will be bots from partners such as Box, Asana, Zendesk and ProsperWork when the platform launches.
Hangouts Meet is a video meeting service that supports zero download and no plugin access to join meetings. Meet also supports 30 person video meetings and the ability to share content in real-time with team members and external customers.
Google Drive also got some major enterprise enhancements with:
Team Drives – For creating and sharing content with a work team
Vault For Drive – For control of sensitive company data
App Bridge acquisition – For easier migration to the cloud
Drive File Stream – For streaming files from Google Drive to your desktop without utilizing hard disk space
Quick Access (powered by Google Machine Intelligence) – For accessing relevant, in context files immediately
What we are now seeing with all of these announcements in context, is enhanced enterprise security controls for administration and governance. As a seamless thread throughout these enterprise grade services will be Google’s capabilities in AI and machine learning to provide intelligent collaboration and productivity services for enterprise users and administrators. We believe Drive represents a deeper, intelligent aggregation of enterprise content that can be securely shared among team members and integrated across Google services, business applications and workflows.
The future of enterprise collaboration and productivity is a paradigm shift towards conversational experiences. These experiences will have to be supported by a conversational environment, space and platform that helps in the transformation of companies towards becoming conversational enterprises. Enterprise collaboration and productivity strategies have to be focused on the employee and customer experience as a continuum.