There’s now an online app for practically anything Kansas City business managers such as yourself can imagine — plus more things you may not have even considered yet. While this grants you an abundance of choices in customizing your online working experience, it also creates operational inefficiencies.
Nowadays, it’s normal to have a tab open for Gmail, another tab for working on a document, another tab for chat, and yet another tab for project management.
There are so many apps where messages and files can get lost in that it’s becoming difficult for team members to stay on the same page.
Using several apps from different publishers also introduces interoperability hiccups. That is, if you want to use two apps that aren’t initially designed to play well together, you must have an application program interface (API) integration developed for them at the start. And whenever one of the two apps is updated or upgraded, the integration usually needs to be updated as well. You’ll often have to pay a third-party developer like Zapier to create the integrations for you — which would be a waste of money if one or both apps no longer work or are discontinued.
Apparently, Googlers took a look at the mess of apps that users including themselves suffer and thought enough is enough. Why juggle multiple apps from multiple publishers when users can remain within Google’s ecosystem of apps? Or better yet, why not just let them stay on one app? However Googlers’ line of thinking actually went, Google announced a gradual integration of some of its productivity and collaboration apps onto Gmail for G Suite users.
Naturally, Gmail will serve as home base
Most G Suite users begin their day by checking their email. And if they’ve enabled email notifications for their apps, Gmail becomes the central hub from which people keep themselves updated without having to check apps one by one. For these reasons, Gmail serves as the linchpin that holds all the other apps together.
While the experience of using Google’s integrated environment is meant to be essentially the same for web (i.e., desktop) and mobile users, the rollouts for both run on different timetables. That is, web users may get to enjoy app integrations sooner than mobile users.
In an apparent bid to compete against Zoom while Zoom’s developers are preoccupied with resolving their data security issues, Google integrated Meet with Gmail first.
As of this writing, Meet is available both on web and mobile Gmail, allowing users to join or invite teammates to impromptu or scheduled meetings without ever having to leave the email app. Meet’s developers are also racing to add functions that are similar to Zoom’s, such as background changes and a raise-your-hand alert system.
As the successor to Google Hangouts, Chat is Google’s answer to Slack and other popular chat apps. Since email and chat are just different modes of online written communication, jumping from Gmail to a chat app can be quite bothersome, especially if people use both apps to share project updates and files. In other words, remaining in one app makes perfect sense.
For small- and medium-sized businesses, this means convenience in keeping teammates on the same page. Additionally, Google’s renowned search engine will make scouring for information and shared files in emails and chat sessions a breeze.
(Side note: As of this writing, Chat is only available on the web version of Gmail.)
This is an upcoming app that will help teams manage their projects. Within Gmail, you’ll be able to create a room where team members can chat about a project, keep a repository of project-related files, and assign and keep track of members’ tasks. Furthermore, you’ll be able to create rooms for people within the company as well as rooms for contractors, suppliers, and other people outside your organization.
In the spirit of making work flow fluidly, Rooms will also be integrated with popular apps such as Trello, Salesforce, and DocuSign. Additionally, Rooms will allow users to open documents such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, discuss these via chat, and co-edit them in real time — all without leaving Gmail.
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All in all, Google integrating all these apps and features into Gmail aims to simplify how people work. No more unnecessary switching of tabs to use another app. No more spending on API integrations that require updating and may just end up being useless anyway. Simply open Gmail like you normally would, then practically do everything else there, too.
Not only will this be more convenient for users, but this will also allow companies to cut their subscriptions to redundant apps. Much like how Google’s original webpage disrupted the internet with its simple design and powerful search function, Gmail will shake everything up with simplicity and functionality — albeit with more bells and whistles.
To learn more about which IT tools will serve your business best, turn to Umbrella. Schedule a consultation with our IT specialists today.