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Google Workspace Review 2024: Can It Boost Productivity?

Dawn Prevete Dawn Prevete Project Manager @WebsitePlanet

Google Workspace isn’t dedicated project management software, but it gives teams impressive tools to collaborate, keep tasks and projects on track, and boost productivity. Specialized features, optional add-ons, apps, and integrations enhance its core functionality and make Workspace a good option for optimizing workflow.

Overview

Powerful and Intuitive Productivity Tools

Google Workspace home page
Teams can use Google Workspace to collaborate, communicate, and manage projects

While primarily known for its popular business communication, collaboration, and creation tools, Google Workspace can also adapt to a range of project management needs. That’s not what I expected when I set out to test its features. After all, it’s not true project management software. But Workspace is highly versatile, with core and niche features you can use to organize projects and maintain a productive workflow.

Workspace excels at communication and collaboration, both essential to good project management. Real-time messaging and commenting are built into its Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other apps. Live chat and virtual meetings help to connect you with coworkers and clients on a more personal level.

Since Workspace is cloud-based (though you can work offline), it’s well suited to hybrid, remote, and multi-location teams. It offers a generous free plan for up to 100 users, something competitors like Microsoft 365 (no free plan) and Zoho Projects (3 users) can’t match.

After thoroughly testing Workspace, I’d recommend it as a standalone solution for freelancers, solopreneurs, and SMBs that have less complex project management needs. Larger businesses will likely want to pair Workspace with full-fledged project management software, something not difficult to do since its app marketplace includes verified integrations with top providers.

While testing Workspace, I also scoured reviews to learn if other users were satisfied with its features and plans. I can confidently say, if you’re looking for a beginner-friendly solution to manage projects and boost your team’s efficiency, Google Workspace could well be a great fit for your needs.

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4.5

Features

Impressive Tools For Optimizing Workflow

If you have a Gmail account, you’re already familiar with many of Google’s useful apps and how well they work together as a coherent whole. 

Workspace for Business adds advanced communication and project management capabilities to these popular productivity tools, such as an admin and team dashboards, virtual meetings with interactive features, 1 TB of cloud storage, and business-grade support and security.

Plans also include AppSheet, Google’s no-code app development tool, and access to its AI powered productivity tool Gemini for Workspace, which can help streamline mundane and complex tasks, improving efficiency.

Plan and Manage Projects With Sheets

Example of a Google Workspace Gantt chart in Sheets
Map a project’s tasks, dependencies, priorities, and deadlines in Sheets

Sheets is one of the best Workspace tools for managing a project, tracking tasks, and monitoring individual and team progress. You can create custom project templates for Sheets or use a pre-built one. Google offers several templates, including ones for Gantt charts, project timelines, and project milestones.

With Sheets’ built-in capabilities, you can assign tasks to specific members of your team, set up dependencies, create deadlines, and generate charts to display data. Chart selections include pie graphs, timeline charts, and column charts. There are also less common choices like maps, organizational charts, scorecards, and more.

Free and Paid Apps Enhance Google Workspace’s Capabilities

Google Workspace App Market
Apps are carefully evaluated to ensure they’re well-integrated with Google Workspace

If you like the ease of Google Workspace but want to supplement its features with additional tools, you should head over to the App Marketplace, as I did. You’ll find a curated selection of free and paid apps for popular business solutions like MailChimp, Slack, and Salesforce. and project management/diagramming software, such as Lucidchart, Monday.com, Trello, and Jira.

After you add an app to Workspace, you’ll find it in your Workspace sidebar so you don’t have to toggle between different platforms. I was also impressed by Google’s commitment to testing every app before inclusion in the marketplace – this tells me that they meet the company’s standards for reliability, privacy, security, and user satisfaction.

Boost Productivity With AI

Gemini for Workspace adds advanced AI capabilities to Workspace’s productivity tools, further enhancing the way you streamline work, automate tasks, and manage projects. You can add Gemini to any Workspace plan, though there is a monthly fee.

You can speed up your daily tasks by asking Gemini to help draft sales proposals, generate project plans, and analyze data. You can also get Gemini to develop a custom Sheets template for project management or provide media for a Slides presentation. It can also help with complex tasks like designing personalized apps for your team with AppSheet or Apps Script.

Enhance Communication With Chat Spaces

Google Workspace Spaces via Chat
Use Spaces to manage projects, assign tasks, share files, and stay connected

Google Chat is much more than a direct messaging app. It lets you create private and discoverable “spaces” to manage individual team projects and company-wide initiatives. When a space is private, it’s restricted to team members and outside collaborators who are working together on a particular project. 

Once you create a space for a project, you can invite people to join, create and assign tasks, set due dates, and mark tasks as completed. Members of a space can get automatic notifications about project updates, view conversation summaries, and discuss a project’s key milestones, blocks, or impediments. There’s no limit to the number of spaces you can create.

4.7

Ease of use

Google Workspace is Exceptionally Easy to Use

An intuitive interface and easy-to-use tools mean even those with limited technical skill can quickly adapt to using Google Workspace. Millions of people have used Google’s core features at home or at work, so making the jump to Workspace shouldn’t be a challenge.

Google makes the process of getting even the most tech adverse users up to speed with a slew of helpful demos, tutorials, and articles. I quickly set up a password-protected project site, designed a Gantt chart template for Sheets, and created a personal project task timeline in Keep.

Getting Started With Google Workspace

Google Workspace sign up page
All you’ll need is your business email and domain to set up a Workspace account

To get started with Google Workspace, you’ll need to enter your business email, number of employees, and region on the online form. After you click the “Next” button, Google will ask you for your website’s domain, the plan you want to evaluate, and your payment information. You won’t have to pay until your 14-day trial period ends. 

During your free trial, as many as 10 users can help you assess Workspace’s features. You can also switch your plan, which makes it easier to decide which edition is best for your needs. If you decide Workspace isn’t a fit for your business, you can cancel any time during your trial period.

Tutorials, Quick Start Guides, and Hands-On Labs

Google Workspace free tutorials
Tutorials cover everything from managing projects to using Gemini’s AI features

Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll want to head over to the Learning Center to learn how to make the most of Workspace’s capabilities. It’s one of the most comprehensive knowledge bases I’ve encountered. Step-by-step onboarding guides, checklists, and tutorials show you how to use its different features, including AI. There are also self-paced courses, interactive learning labs, and video training modules that offer an in-depth learning experience.

The content is well-structured and easy to search. For example, you can learn by product or by position and industry. There’s even a “how to get comfortable” with Workspace guide if you’re switching from Microsoft or another productivity platform.

Easy Integration With Other Business Tools

You can share, collaborate, and co-edit 100+ file types, including Microsoft Office documents and Adobe PDFs without having to convert them to a Google file type. When you upload a Microsoft Office file to Google Drive, you can co-edit and comment using Docs, Sheets, and Slides. All changes are automatically saved in the original Office format.

You can also migrate conversations from other platforms, such as Slack, and sync tasks and projects between Workspace and other project management software. This means you can attach Google Docs, Sheets, or other files to task cards in Monday.com or Asana, as well as import and export data between platforms, improving the flow of information for your team.

Custom No-Code App Design

One of Google’s most flexible tools is AppSheet, which helps you design personalized apps tailored to your business’ specific needs. Google’s detailed guides ensure that even those without technical knowledge can design an app that aligns with their operational goals. You can start with a template (there are hundreds of them, sorted by industry, function, and feature) to kickstart the app creation process.

AppSheet’s capabilities extend to automating tasks and incorporating AI and machine learning to enhance efficiency and streamline tasks like data management. You can create apps for project tracking, IT ticketing, resources management, and even create your own CRM.

4.8

Collaboration Tools

Workspace is Built for Collaboration

Every Workspace tool has real-time collaboration features, from Docs and Sheets to Chat, Meet, and Keep. In addition to commenting, direct messaging, and @tagging, you can create a shared Drive for your team project, set up one-on-one chats or team video calls, and use Meet to design a virtual room to discuss or launch a project with co-workers or clients.

Project Sites and Team Dashboards

Sample Google Workspace for Business project site
You can set up password-protected project sites and add charts, project timelines, and more

Password-protected project sites are Workspace’s centralized hubs for managing your projects. Teams can easily collaborate using different resources, securely store project documentation, embed tools like Chat, Calendar, Drive, Sheets, and Docs, and keep all project stakeholders updated in real time. 

Team dashboards created with Sheets or third-party tools are useful for getting a quick overview of a project and evaluating progress. You can pull data with Sheets to create charts, tables, and graphs to gain insights into a project’s key metrics, set up automated alerts to monitor project health, identify trends, and adjust workloads as needed.

File Sharing

Your entire team can work together on shared Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Edits and comments are visible to everyone as they’re made, and every change is automatically saved in your document’s history. Google allows you to restrict access to files, set parameters for who can view, comment, or edit, even add an expiration date for sharing.

Shared drives are special Google Drive folders that you can use to store, search, and access files within a team. They’re ideal for specific projects where you might have sensitive initiatives that you want to limit access to or outside collaborators who may need one-time access to files.

Mobile App

Unfortunately, Google Workspace doesn’t have a mobile app. But you can download individual apps on iOS and Android phones and tablets so your team can collaborate and communicate on the go and keep tasks and projects on track. Android users can also log into their Workspace account from their mobile devices.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed supported apps (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Chat, Voice, Meet, and Keep), you can access and edit files, comment and send messages, chat with any member of your team, attend video meetings, and access stored content from the Google Cloud.

4.0

Support

Multiple Support Options but Timely Response May Depend on Your Plan

Google offers multiple support channels, including 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support, which are available for most Workspace customers. But it reserves the most robust support for its Enterprise Essentials and Enterprise Business customers, who receive quicker responses, access to reps with advanced technical expertise, and help with third-party integrations.

Google also has pre-set criteria for how fast it will respond to a support request and how quickly it will resolve your issue. The highest priority and fastest resolution are for total loss of service.

If you’re on the Standard plan you can pay for Premium or Enhanced support, though I was unable to determine the cost. If you’re on the free Essentials plan, support is limited to the Google community, online guides, and tutorials. To speak or chat with a live person, you’ll have to upgrade to Essentials Plus.

To test support, I first tried its chatbot with no success. After my questions went unanswered, I asked to speak to sales support. That also didn’t go over well.

Google Workspace Chat
After several tries, the chatbot finally provided a phone number for the sales team

Number in hand, I called Google. Not once, but twice. After answering a few questions posed by the IVR (interactive voice response), the IVR directed me to wait for a support rep – but I was never connected to a live person. Instead, the IVR came back on the line and told me the sales team wasn’t available and suggested I call back later, which I did with no luck.

Oddly enough, I was able to reach support on a Sunday morning and got helpful responses to some of my questions. I spoke to a Workspace Individual support agent, who was unable to answer my questions about the Business plan, but they did send me a link to contact the sales team.

Google Workspace customer support email
This was the only response I got from the Google Workspace sales team

On the other hand, I found Google’s online resources to be clear, informative, and extensive. With any Workspace for Business plan, you can watch demos, view productivity tips for different use cases, sign up for tutorials and learning labs, and much more.

4.5

Pricing

Range of Plans and Pricing Suits Different Needs

Google offers one of the widest ranges of plans I’ve seen for productivity or project management software –18 in all. There’s a Workspace plan to suit virtually any need, from freelancers and small teams to enterprise-scale companies, schools, and nonprofits. 

Unlike Microsoft, Google offers its Workspace Essentials Starter for free. It includes core productivity tools but lacks the features found in the paid business plans. It’s best suited to freelancers, solopreneurs, and small businesses that are willing to forgo some advanced features and can deal with limited support.

There are four tiered Workspace for Business plans suitable for any company size, from small firms to enterprise-scale businesses. These plans are competitively priced when compared to other office productivity and project management software. The Starter plan at $6.00 per user/month adds video and voice conferencing for up to 100 people, 24/7 customer support, threaded chat rooms with client/guest access, and business-grade security. 

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Every Workspace plan – from the free Essentials plan and up – includes unlimited projects, something I haven’t seen with other productivity and project management software. Storage is also quite generous, starting at 15 GB per user on its free plan and rising to 50 TB on the Enterprise plan.

Schools can choose the free Education Fundamentals plan or get reduced pricing on other Workspace editions. If you’re an educator, you can get unique tools like Classroom and Assignments to manage workloads, create class dashboards, and improve student engagement. 

Google also offers nonprofits a free Workspace edition and reduces fees for its business plans by as much as 79%. Nonprofits also benefit from $10,000 in Google Ad Grants and the YouTube Nonprofit Program.

Comparison

How does Google Workspace match up to the competition?

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Google Workspace REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

If your primary focus is improving collaboration, communication, and work productivity for your business, school, or nonprofit, you can’t go wrong with Google Workspace.

I’d recommend Workspace for freelancers and SMBs that have basic project management needs because its flexible tools make it easy to plan and manage projects. Larger firms will likely want to integrate other software to get all the functionality they need, but Workspace can still play a key role in optimizing workflow for your business and keeping projects and your teams on track.

FAQ

Is Google Workspace better than Microsoft 365?

Google Workspace has several advantages when compared to Microsoft 365, starting with its ease of use and superior real-time collaboration tools. And while both offer free trials, Google has a free plan and flexible month-to-month plans while Microsoft only offers paid plans and requires an upfront annual commitment with automatic renewal.

Is Google Workspace good for my small businesses?

Yes, Google Workspace is well-suited to small businesses. It’s easy to use, even for those without technical skills. Its integrated suite of digital tools can help small businesses achieve an efficient and productive workflow because teams can work simultaneously on documents, charts, and projects across multiple locations and devices.

Does Google Workspace offer good value?

Google Workspace offers great value for businesses, schools, and nonprofits. Tiered plans scale with your needs, starting with basic versions that are affordable yet powerful enough to efficiently manage workflow. Digital tools like Docs, Sheets, Chat, and Meet easily facilitate collaboration and communication. AI capabilities, advanced tools like AppSheet, and robust security features add additional value.

Can you use Google Workspace for project management?

You can use Google Workspace to map projects, assign tasks, track performance, and get status updates. You can also set up team dashboards and create password-protected project sites. Document sharing and other collaboration tools support a productive workflow and enhance communication within teams and with clients.
Dawn Prevete Dawn Prevete
Dawn specializes in writing about a range of software products, including website builders, backup services, credit card processing solutions, and project management platforms. She has 10+ year’s experience as a technical writer and has written a number of articles for CEOs and senior executives at client companies that have appeared under their bylines. When she’s not researching and testing digital services, she brainstorms with educators to ensure all students have access to enriching learning opportunities.
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