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Google Workspace for everyone (blog.google)
249 points by danirod 48 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 337 comments

For as long a I am a “wanna-be founder”, I used to be afraid of working on ideas that compete with (parts of) Google business. That feeling is no more.

I use GSuite at work at a FAANG company, and Google slides with 50+ pages is so slow (multi-second pauses when changing slides) to be practically unusable. Finding documents in Google drive is hard to impossible, and good luck keeping track of comments or tasks assigned to you in multiple unrelated documents.

I’m sure at some level consolidating their offerings is a right product move, but I don’t think Basecamp or Calendly should be particularly concerned.

You aren’t really competing on quality when you go up against these kinds of products though, you are competing against “free and good enough” which is actually quite compelling in a lot of cases. If you’ve ever been up against Microsoft in a deal for example they just ignore your product and keep throwing more unrelated free stuff into the enterprise agreement until the client acquiesces.

Yep, but workspace is not free. Or good for that matter. It’s maybe cheap, but with so many asterisks that I, and lot of other, starts to be unwilling to commit to anything Google

sure, but when a business is paying for it it becomes"paying extra for a better product that covers something that works OK with what we already have"

Presumably there's space for both "free and good enough" and "paid and actually good" in a lot of market though.

There is space as long as you don’t have unicorn sized delusions of grandeur.

Never underestimate the power of an incumbent.

Teams is not the best messaging/videoconferencing program by a country mile, yet it shows the most growth YoY [citation needed].

I worked for a few companies who dipped a toe into the Microsoft waters and their products drowned everything else out; this was not because the offering was technically superior or cheaper.

> Microsoft waters

Microsoft and Google have a fundamentally different approach to enterprise software than Google. Microsoft is the mediocre Apple of enterprise tech, before Apple even got that reputation.

EVERYTHING IS INTEGRATED. Microsoft makes it so insanely easy to stay within the microsoft ecosystem, that using a mediocre software created by Microsoft is always a better option than a 3rd party tool. (See slacks getting clobbered by teams, despite slacks being significantly faster)

Part of what makes MSFT click is that they they go above and beyond to create a tool everyone can use. Additionally, they are obsessed with customers to a point that their tools lose all personality. This is bad if you want something that is opinionated in exactly the way you want (see Obsidian vs OneNote), but great for companies that want to offer an inoffensive tool that is serviceable for all its employees.

An incumbent is fearsome when it uses every little advantage in its greater product offering to embed itself as the obvious option. (Apple for consumer tech, MSFT for enterprise tech). Google has refused to implement the kind of top down organizational structure needed to enforce such integration in its product lineup. This is the company that couldn't sync its grocery lists with google keep. As long as it stays true, Google will never be able to leverage the advantage of an incumbent. It's a shame too, their products are honestly quite good.

So true and surprisingly so much not appreciated by so many ppl that actually benefit from MSFT products - directly or not.

We use Teams at work, I miss Slack so bad.

We also switched and I don’t miss slack anymore. Teams has been getting better by the day. Lots of features are worse than slack but many are also better, especially around video.

Can you use CMD+number to switch tabs/chats yet? Or customize the key bindings on OSX?

I don't know about changing key bindings, but you can use Cmd/Ctrl + number on Mac and Windows, yes.

Teams is an easy sell for organisations.

"Do you already have O365? Yes? Then you already have Teams!"

That's a hard place to sell a competing solution to =)

I worked for an organization where this was the case but most people vastly preferred zoom.

IT went as far as remotely disabling the use of zoom after months of pleading with people not to use it.

This was ostensibly done for security reasons (citing zoom bombing, of all things, coz it was in the news).

When teams had a raft of really bad zero days, of course, nobody in IT batted an eye.

MS reaaaallly got its hooks in to that place.

It made me wonder how startups are supposed to compete with this type of thing. Zoom was free and better liked and it still got shut down.

> This was ostensibly done for security reasons (citing zoom bombing, of all things, coz it was in the news).

I don't think this is without basis? Zoom got some bad press. Unsure if Teams is any better.

Zoom apps sending data to Facebook https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22693792

Zoom lying about e2ee https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25044254

Zoom installer on macOS https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22706650

Zoom rolling its own crypto https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22768494

#2 and #4 are both about Zoom having a botched e2e implementation (it was "e2e", but had server-side key management). That's not really a win for Teams since it doesn't even try to support e2e.

> #2 and #4 are both about Zoom having a botched e2e implementation

I'd reckon Zoom engs know what's e2ee and what's not. I tend to agree with folks who say their sales team purposefully lied to win deals.

The bad press it got looked more like the result of a sustained PR campaign against them than anything natural.

I remember the Facebook thing alone getting about as much airtime as MS's three teams zero days despite being insignificant by comparison.

E2E encryption that isn't properly end to end is newsworthy but it isn't a good reason to justify selecting a competing product that doesn't even try.

I’m actually surprised that Slack hasn’t tried their hand at an email service to combat this. Yes o365 is more than email but that’s their foot in the door. If you cut off that sales vector you make MS have to compete on the merits of their add-on services and they don’t hold up. Notion is a OneNote and Sharepoint destroyers. Zoom and Slack are better than Teams and S4B. Okta and Auth0 are better than ADFS.

FYI ADFS is now going the way of the dodo and being replaced by AAD which does what Okta and Auth0 do already.

Do you know Okta well? I've been looking for product comparisons but the best I came up with was Okta's "Why Choose Okta vs. ADFS?" [1]

And that's just sales talk. It says ADFS needs multiple servers, which it doesn't. At least it depends on your deployment model. And whether AD running on another server constitutes "multiple servers" (of course just as true for Okta).

It also says Okta runs in the cloud. The implication is that ADFS doesnt. Well, like anything, it does.

The remainder talks about low TCO, deployment speed, simplifying AD complexity, and the cloud. All of which are rather subjective.

I say all of this having done some very complex ADFS deployments - at the extreme using Chip & PIN authN, and authR from client workstations assumed to be compromised.

So given the above I'd love to find a compelling and unbiased comparison. Including featureset.

[1] https://www.okta.com/resources/whitepaper/why-choose-okta-vs...

Is ADFS fully managed? I think Okta is competing with Azure AD rather than ADFS.

> I’m actually surprised that Slack hasn’t tried their hand at an email service to combat this.

This either shows that Slack's "email is dead" marketing strategy was very effective (did an important job during a specific period of early growth and they have now moved on) or very ineffective (their main proposition completely passed you by).

To be fair, Google "work" products seem to be a tier below Microsoft's even, and Google doesn't iterate as quickly to improve them either.


Outlook is not my preferred email client but having. Used it on both windows and Mac OS as groupware tool, it's still better than most things by Google.

It's just snappier, because it's native code. And outlook on Mac OS used to be gorgeous.

Excel is a jewel and a marvel of software engineering. Google sheets is good for doing just 2+2.

And so on. When it comes to office stuff, Microsoft software is just better.

Sadly, because it's all proprietary software, but it is was it it.

> It's just snappier, because it's native code.

Gmail used to be snappier than Outlook is now when it launched, even as a webapp. I'm not sure quite how they've managed to mess it up so badly, but it's poor engineering not a limitation of the tech stack.

Agree with you on the other office products though. Word, Excel, etc aren't perfect, but they're much better than the alternatives for most things.

The problem was that most people compared big inboxes managed in Outlook when brand new emails in GMail. It's certainly easier to search when you have very little data to go through.

> It's just snappier, because it's native code. And outlook on Mac OS used to be gorgeous.

I've been forced into using Outlook on Windows and Mac and snappy has never been my impression, although I seem to recall it being somewhat more usable on Windows. Not that GMail is snappy either, but a browser based client isn't necessarily slower than Outlook. Although an actually fast native client would be hard to beat.

I’ve used only the outlook web access client for outlook for four-plus years (literally haven’t installed the native client). It’s been more than tolerable.

Google's is all proprietary too if it's any consolation lol.

We literally just dumped Zoom at work. Why? Because Teams was "free" (Included in our o365 agreement), and it was just good enough. We have had both for a couple of years now, but nobody ever went to Teams for a meeting, and everybody is pissed... because it really wasn't as good.

We just had our first Teams meeting this morning, in fact... we could not figure out how to simply view the person speaking. Seems like it's always in split view, or that goofy "Together" view. Nothing makes you want to turn off the camera more than having your face on everybody's screen through 100% of the meeting.

> Finding documents in Google drive is hard to impossible

This! I can't wrap my head around on how impossible is to search for things in drive.

I found it was easier and quicker to message the person who shared a doc with me and get them to resend the link than it was to use the Drive search.

Staggeringly bad for, you know, a search company.

yes, and that's what I normally do as well. I also bookmark docs that I know I am gonna access in the future. I just don't trust I will be able to find it again.

Google Search itself has become staggeringly bad so it fits.

Same here. 100-slide decks open without a problem for our entire org. And drive search is spot on 99% of the time. There are other issues, but these aren’t it.

I mean it's Google. You'd think they'd have nailed the concept of "searching" by now. :)

But I have found a weird workaround for this. After installing Google Drive File Stream locally and searching for things with the file explorer, it doesn't seem that bad all of a sudden.

Highly recommend https://slapdash.com which does a bunch of things - among which is finding files in gdrive insanely fast...

I don't have this experience at all - first, I have slide decks that have 100s of slides and it works fine. I have no issue finding documents either - however I do struggle with the invites to documents inside of Gmail.

> That feeling is no more.

Yep, and I'm building something to sit on top of google Drive, to manage files, and make it easier to collaborate as a team. That's not something new, similar, to what Confluence, Notion are offering, ...

The reality is that google sucks at B2B, everything they do don't work. There are a few exception like google Workspace because Gmail was number 1 in B2C and they were the first to get Words and Excel in the browser and Google Analytics.

The reality is that, innovation for a big company is hard, Microsoft was able to build Teams from scratch to compete with Slack and managed to it, and that's an amazing achievement, not something that we are used to seeing.

> Microsoft was able to build Teams from scratch to compete with Slack and managed to it

Teams is complete shit though, they didn't compete on quality of their offering. They're competing because every org already pays Microsoft a lot of money and they may as well use Teams because it's "integrated"

I don't really understand where this notion comes from. I've used Slack; I've used Teams; I find Teams more than adequate for my organization's use-case. I'm sure that's not the case for everyone, but "Teams is complete shit" is such an odd over-generalization from my vantage point.

For me it is the slowness and bugs. I complained on occasion about Slack's responsiveness but Teams on my Mac is on another level of unresponsiveness. Also it doesn't seem to use the macOS APIs for notifications, Teams notifications show up even in Do Not Disturb mode. Tapping the notification is hit-or-miss as to whether or not it will actually load the relevant discussion.

Teams is also really bad at emoji support compared to Slack.

I've been using Teams for only a few months after having used Slack for years but in the time I've used it I've come to despise it.

Point of note, Teams wasn't built from scratch it was more like a remodel of skype which they already owned. If you start looking under the hood at various aspects of teams one will start to see Skype all over the place.

It looks a lot more like a remodeled Lync (eventually rebranded Skype for Business) than a remodeled Skype, basically Lync but written in Sharepoint, hence the up to 1 hour account creation and license syncing delays.

Must be one hell of a remodel then, considering Teams is an electron application.

I don't know if they updated this yet, but one location this was evident was on Linux. During a Teams call, if you looked at the applications using pulseaudio, Teams would show up as Skype.

> The reality is that, innovation for a big company is hard

Then why is Apple innovating more than anyone else?

That statement is very hard to quantify even within the same industry.

Apple makes and will continue to make great products for a specific subset of uses because they are willing to make big investments and are very opinionated about optimal user experience. The end result of that is the often great experience of their ecosystem today.

They obviously also employ tactics to lock out competition too (see the purchase of AuthenTec, Dark Sky and a few other small purchases of best in class companies explicitly demanding that they don't work with anyone else).

Innovation in reality is "improving things" and many many companies suck at defining what an improvement is and who the improvement is for. Too many focus on improving revenue numbers and that's it instead of improving user experience, reliability, security, privacy, etc. All things Apple cares deeply about*

* Again, Apple's decisions are only an improvement to a subset of users but that's really all that matters to them. Happier users means more use of Apple products which is a win.

Because it is hard it is not impossible.

That still doesn't make much sense if innovation is supposedly easier for small companies.

> and good luck keeping track of comments or tasks assigned to you in multiple unrelated documents

Try searching for "followup:actionitems" in drive.


Sure, but what kind of disaster ux that?

GSuite is downright horrible compared to alternatives and its only saving grace is GMail. And its the same with GCloud which makes doing the most basic things slow and annoying. It really feels like most of those GSuite products are there JUST so that Google can say they have it.

I've used GSuite for years and find it fine. I do think it performs best using Chrome though. The document collaboration works well, and search works when I need it. Much better than something like Confluence.

What other tools would you suggest in place of GSuite (email, calendaring, collaborative document building, searching/finding docs, etc...)? O365 is all that comes to mind.

> I do think it performs best using Chrome though.

Sounds like a nail in the coffin, to me.

I'll avoid Chrome. Unless it suddenly goes 100% FOSS, gets audited, and every feature that causes platform lockin gets stripped / opened.

Curious what browser you use that doesn't have lockin and is audited?

> I do think it performs best using Chrome though.

Or Chromium which is FOSS.

>GSuite is downright horrible compared to alternatives and its only saving grace is GMail.

I've personally never found a better alternative to Google Meet.

I like Meet b/c it's easy. Click link and people are in a meeting. I don't want to force people to install and app or hunt around for the tiny text that lets people join a meeting from their browser.

Meet is far from perfect (performance issues on Macs), but ease of use trumps that for me personally.

What attracts you to Google Meet? I prefer Zoom personally (despite the privacy concerns), as I can have a meeting with someone without the fans on my 2017 MBP 13" going into liftoff, and the video feeds of the participants never freeze. Legitimately every Google Meet I've ever been a part of has either completely drained my battery, or frozen the video feeds of multiple participants, or both, even if there's just 1-2 other people.

Plus I kind of resent Google Calendar not having reasonable plugins for other video services (Jitsi, Zoom, etc.); feels anti-trusty to me.

>What attracts you to Google Meet?

It just works. You get a link, you open the link, you're in.

Whenever I get a Zoom link, it first forces me to download the app. As in, you open the link and it instantly downloads an executable to my computer, which I need to then go delete. Then I need to fight the website by clicking a series of links to get to the browser version. Then I enter my name and join. Except oops, the meeting has not formally started, so it has now kicked me back to the previous page to re-enter my name. Try again, except later since if you go before it's officially started, you're doing this again.

And that's how bad Zoom is even before you start the call. The UI in Zoom calls is also worse than Google Meet. What the hell is "Join with Computer Audio"? What does that even mean?

This. Meet isn't perfect, but 'click link, meet' is so damn simple.

Yeah it seems like Zoom's falling prey to the "we're a 10,000 seat contract but we really need this feature" stuff. I think using Zoom was fine as long as you could effectively ignore the UI (yeah "Join with Computer Audio" is completely nonsensical, double especially at that phase like, oh yeah I would like to make that decision right now where people don't know I can't hear them and they can't hear me, cool cool cool), but if you're actually using Zoom features beyond like, everyone get on Zoom, it's not wonderful.

Exactly this. Running my own business and that's one thing I do to e-meet people: it's either Google Meet or nothing.

Not perfect, yes my fans go nuts, but it works, everybody can understand how to get in, and it's rather very intuitive. I LOVE GOOGLE MEET.

You should experience what it's like as parents and educators to use Google Meet for school. It's barely usable with massive performance and access issues.

Google Meet unfortunately doesn't just work as easily as it should.

Well, I’m not a parent or an educator, but we’ve had company-wide meetings on Google Meet with triple-digit attendance and I haven’t noticed performance issues.

Your company probably has a better budget per computer than the school for the teachers and students.

The issue I personally have with zoom (besides all the historic security concerns) is that it is typically incredibly complicated to use - too many bells and whistles to do even basic things. Meet generally ‘just works’, and has been better performance wise than Zoom on my hardware.

Zoom does seem to do better overly severely degraded connections (and surfaces that It is happening). The experience is still pretty bad though.

Oh yeah that's totally fair. I was hosting a meeting the other day and one of my participants wanted to share their screen, and I still haven't found where to do that. I just made them host. Their UI is hot garbage.

It's in your meeting settings (sadly on their website, not in the app) under "Who Can Share?".

Amazing, thank you! Who says the Internet is a cesspool haha

>Plus I kind of resent Google Calendar not having reasonable plugins for other video services (Jitsi, Zoom, etc.); feels anti-trusty to me.

It isn't native to gcal, but the zoom chrome extension works relatively well.

It’s downright so simple to use, it’s a pleasure.

But the behavior of auto layout when someone is sharing a screen is completely weird to me. Also their new UI which rolled out to us recently is bit more complex than the simpler one before.

We're forced to used GSuite. I find https://syncdocs.com useful - it lets me collaborate using MS Office on top of GSuite

I’m surprised your employer allows to login to the SyncDocs client with your Google work ID. I’d be fired where I work if I do that.

Google Drive sync client doesn’t even work half the time for me and nothing would make me happier than going back to Dropbox for me.

> its only saving grace is GMail

Is that the HTML version? Because the normal GMail is also horribly slow.

> Is that the HTML version? Because the normal GMail is also horribly slow.

Out of interest, what is slow about gmail for you? I use gmail for work and speed has never been a problem or even an annoyance. Im genuinely interested as some people seem to have a totally different experience to me and it'd be interesting to understand why.

For me, if I have long email threads (think 1 year worth of to and fros), it takes ages to load and keeps moving the position based on images loading etc. The conversation view completely becomes unusable beyond few tens of emails.

Each morning I have to aggressively sift through ~300 emails and archive ~270 of them. Archiving 10 emails at a time can take several seconds, from pressing the archive button, to the email list being refreshed with 10 more items from the previous page.

Opening a conversation that has more than 5 messages in the thread will regularly take several seconds.

EDIT: paging set to 100 conversations per page, with reader view / vertical split to enable reading emails at the same time as viewing the rest of the list of threads.

Similar experiences with Chrome on Win10 as safari on macOS or gmail app on iOS.

It makes me miss Outlook.

A long delay when loading it, a noticeable delay (I’d guess 50-200ms, it’s not consistent) whenever I open any E-Mail. Compared to Fastmail where the start-up delay is shorter, and opening any mail feels instant.

Don't be afraid to compete with Google on anything short of products like ads and YouTube. You shouldn't be afraid to compete with them unless their product is making billions of dollars. They'll kill a highly profitable product without hesitation if it looks like it won't win them the NBU (Next Billion Users). They're smart cookies, but their ethos is win big or fuggedaboutit. They have very little stamina or patience for middling products.

Next perfectly viable Google product on the chopping block: Stadia

out of curiosity, what kind of machine are you using ? I expect it's not network io causing the slowdowns, but i'm curious if even latest machines can't handle google apps

I’m using a 2020 MacBook Pro 16” with 32GB of RAM. I’m WFH, but don’t notice any slowdowns on any other task.

It makes you wonder if they really do have the best people working on stuff. Is this really the same team that made gmail/maps?

I'd lay money it's not the engineers, but management. If management doesn't put performance as a top-tier requirement, there's no way to stuff enough features into a program for something like an office suite (already half-crippled by having to run in a browser) and keep the performance high. It's too much work for even the engineers who care to take it on in the cracks & edges around their other projects... it has to be something management prioritizes.

Seems like this is how all "enterprise-grade" software becomes a pain to use. Usability and performance get short shrift below getting the next 100 bullet-point-features and before you know it the only computers in the world that can run it decently are the developer's, where it still is frankly only on the edge of usability and far from where it would be a joy to use.

There is another factor with enterprise software - people build workflows around it that are business critical (think checklists and HOW-TO guides), and taught to folks that just want to turn the crank and get things done, not mess around with the latest changes (in general).

UX changes (usually what people mean when they say ‘usability) are problematic because they often require disruptive changes, retraining people, and breaking someone’s business for awhile if they can’t know this is coming and stage it out properly. That is a good way to lose customers.

Performance improvements over unlocking some major business area with a feature are not as high priority - because an extra .5% in cost to an existing customer is usually not as important as unlocking another 10% of sales.

Over time it can of course kill the product if not addressed. It’s easy to see how the incentives lead people there though.

And for an enterprise, they already pay people to do things they aren’t excited to do every day - why should they care the software is motivating when people already clean toilets, deal with retail customers, and mop floors without any of those being exciting either? As long as it works, it works.

"why should they care the software is motivating when people already clean toilets, deal with retail customers, and mop floors without any of those being exciting either?"

Efficient. I'm not looking to enterprise software to provide personal affirmation in life, but if it takes me 5 minutes of staring at loading screens to do something I ought to have been able to do in 15 seconds, that's that much lost productivity, and it multiplies over days, months, years, and across employees.

Moreover, while supermegaultra performance tuning may be expensive, many performance improvements can be had for much less than the cost of time they are losing people, and many others can be obtained relatively cheaply if they are simply something that is kept in mind at all parts of the design process rather than completely ignored until it can't possibly be ignored any more. To a large degree, I'm not asking for these companies to make a moon shot to make me slightly happier... I'm asking for them to pick the freaking low-hanging fruit that is right in front of them, and, ideally, to do so on an ongoing basis. Computers are pretty fast nowadays, you don't really have to try that hard to put something on the screen in less than 30 seconds.

For sure - but you’re still thinking about it from the using side, not the purchasing/management side.

We all know how dysfunctional management can be, and IMO this is more a symptom of the disconnect between management and the employees resulting in bad business performance.

It’s clear whoever is doing the purchasing either doesn’t care, doesn’t know, or has to pick the option due to another checkbox somewhere they can’t control. The people who know have no control over the tools they are using.

It’s amazing how pathological organizations can be.

It is exactly this. Try competing with a company like Google or Microsoft for a giant contact with a Fortune 500 company, where the person making the decision doesn't have to use the products and their primary concern is the cost of training and migration.

"Your employees will be happier" is not on anyone's radar.

"Does it work with our company's authentication system from 2003?"

"Does it support playing ogg vorbis files embedded in spreadsheet cells?"

"The director of sales won't consider it for their department unless you add this particular feature that they are used to from product X, even though they don't actually do any selling anymore and it makes no sense in our own product and will require special-case handling for all maintenance in perpetuity. They have a hunch that it's valuable."

People use to laugh at PMs (disclaimer: I’m a PM), but making right product decisions in a big Corp, with multiple parties to align with that had competing interests, is hard.

I’m sure Google has high quality engineers working more or less on every product. It’s just the solution space of products with big surface area and many interdependencies is really large. When you are more steps removed from your customers, and can’t move fast (comparing to a small nibble team), finding the optimum becomes a very non-trivial exercise.

Most successful products at big corps have laser-focused teams with highly influential leaders. Anything else results on mediocrity.

Why is it, then, that Google products with ~N users tend to be less good than equivalent open-source projects in the same verticals with ~N users, when those open-source projects mostly don’t even have access to effective product management?

That’s a good question, even if I disagree slightly about the premise, as random large open-source products targeting consumers (as opposed to infrastructure projects like Linux kernel) can dramatically vary in quality.

My hypothesis: devs are much closer to users, as they are often users themselves, and have more freedom to work on fixing broken experiences, as opposed to just rolling new features.


Linus was able to out-compete a team of hundreds of Microsoft Engineers who spent years building a Source Control system by himself within a span of 10 days when he built git.

You can't take Microsoft Source Control, add a few stories, and end up with git in a Sprint. You can't split that work up between different teams.

The essence of git is in a unified design that matches the essential complexity of source control requirements. When you play the game of telephone from user to sales to program manager to project manager to architect to lead developer to UX designer to DB modeler, each step along the path introduces errors. Those errors made the system harder to design for, harder to scale, and harder to use.

Linus was able to cover every element of those to a passable degree himself. You need to empower your developers. If they don't use the product, if they are not dogfooding, you have no chance to compete against those that are.

IMO Linus is a very unique, one in a million, engineer building a proto git in 10 days is really not a common feat and is the result of a mix of passion and focus that is very hard to replicate.

That being said, I agree with the general point that having vision and trusting your developers with their vision can be a winning strategy.

I think it's less "passion" and "focus", more his position as the Linux lead giving him first-hand experience with change control at scale. He didn't need a product manager to gather requirements, because he already knew them.

That's basically what ItsMonkk is saying, but I think it's worth making it more explicit. Because a one-in-a-million engineer is not replicable, but a deep understanding of your users' needs is.

What large open source hosted office suite is better exactly? I’m unaware of one.

Same with large open source email services? (Ala Gmail)

It’s usually apples and oranges comparisons. There is libreoffice, but even on it’s best day it’s not doing real time document editing/collaboration with 10+ people on opposite sides of the planet, and that is the Google Docs bread and butter for instance.

I think you're trying to compare against Google's best and largest products (which probably have the best PMs working for them, with the clearest demand for "vision.")

Compare instead Google's average products (y'know — the kind they eventually shut down) to the largest FOSS competitors in those same verticals.

For example, compare Google Reader at its peak MAU, to the current #1 open-source RSS reader app.

Or compare Google+ to, say, Mastadon. (Mastadon is a FOSS Twitter knockoff whereas Google+ was a Facebook knockoff, but I think the point stands.)

Or, for a painful one, compare Blogger to Wordpress! (Okay, maybe that one's not fair, since Wordpress is a real company that can hire product managers. But most WP development is still random FOSS developers scratching their own itches.)

Or compare Google Code at its peak to, well, anything. GitLab CE, GNU Savannah, anything.

None of these were failures of engineering. They were either failures of product management, or failures of budget/staffing — which is in essence still product management, since it's a PM's role to fight for the budget and headcount to get the job done.

(That's not to say all but the best Google products rot on the vine. IMHO Google are pretty good with steering their internal B2B engineering-driven offerings, e.g. GKE, Firebase, BigQuery, etc. Those are run a lot like FOSS projects, in that it's a combination of internal engineers scratching their own itches, and customers directly filing bug reports, that determine what gets built. It's the B2C products, and the marketing-driven B2B products — where in either case the engineers involved might not have the problem themselves, and the customers might never directly engage with them in troubleshooting their workflows — that tend to falter.)

> There is libreoffice, but even on it’s best day it’s not doing real time document editing/collaboration with 10+ people on opposite sides of the planet, and that is the Google Docs bread and butter for instance.

If that's your only requirement, then the FOSS project https://etherpad.org/ that Google acquired to build Google Wave off of (and then later dis-acquired) satisfies it pretty well. These days it's even kind of a word-processor! (Originally it was just a multiplayer <textarea> with per-user text background colors.)

> For example, compare Google Reader at its peak MAU, to the current #1 open-source RSS reader app.

What's the current #1 open-source RSS reader app? Google Reader at its peak was by far the best RSS reader I've ever used - and presumably the same was true for many other users, hence why it shutting down functionally killed RSS entirely. But possibly I've just not found the better alternatives.

> Or compare Google+ to, say, Mastadon.

Wasn't your original point to compare similarly-sized services? G+'s userbase was multiple orders of magnitude larger than Mastodon's has ever been.

Which opensource product do you believe has 1 billion users like Gmail does?

None? Google has ~3 well-managed products that everyone loves and uses, such that nobody even bothers to try to compete with them. These products are the exceptions. They may as well not be Google products, because they aren't representative of Google's product-management philosophy at all. You can't set up a new team at Google and talk to them about doing things "the Google way" and have them to understand that to mean "like Gmail does."

Google has 1000+ badly-managed products. Google's actual product-management philosophy, is reflected in how these products are created, managed (into the ground), stagnated, and usually eventually killed. My post was about those.

It's very easy to beat the complete lack of product-management in your average FOSS project, by just having one full-time product manager with vision for where the product should go. See, for example, what this guy (https://www.youtube.com/c/Tantacrul) has to say about various pieces of FOSS DAW software, where all the flaws usually come down to a pure lack of product management on the FOSS projects' part. The problems he points out could all easily be fixed by having one person with vision submit bug-reports about workflow issues, and having those bug-reports get taken seriously by the engineers. (And he's now doing exactly that, as PM, for Audacity.)

Google should easily be able to hire guys like him, and put them on projects like the ones I listed in my sibling comment. But they just... don't... seem to have it in them.

Making the right decision is easy. Winning the internal political battles to nurture that decision to production is sisyphean, especially when the alternative is falling in line, not taking risks, and collecting a paycheck.

In general, it is not.

The people who made Gmail are either still working on Gmail, working somewhere else, or working on a pet project because they bought the proof-of-competence to choose their project. Google's management structure basically doesn't have anything that says "Hey, you were successful at X, can you work on (thing adjacent to X)?" and incentivize the employee to do that if the employee wants to do something else.

There's no reason to assume the people working on Slides, Spreadsheets, Drive, Docs, &c started particularly overlapped (though I'm sure there's consolidation these days). Similarly with GCloud; all the pieces of GCloud started as independent initiatives (App Engine, Cloud Storage, BigQuery, Compute Engine, &c). All of these started separate and only began using consolidated resources / providing consolidated UX frontends and APIs as they were forced to by a management chain ad-hoc'd together after Google decided "Cloud" was a space they wanted to do business in as an organized front.

Are we using the same Gmail ?

GMail is TRASH for me. It's the slowest, most ressoruce intensive site/app I've ever had the "pleasure" of using. I'm using Fastmail now and it's mindblowing how slow Gmail is in comparison.

> GMail is TRASH for me

It is now, but it didn't used to be. Gmail at launch was incredibly fast. It gradually got a little bit slower over time, and then they made it a lot slower with a rewrite a few years ago.

I still use the basic HTML version, it works fine and does all the things I need a mail client to do (except a "select all" button, which I've added with a short userscript: http://ix.io/3pXu/js)

It’s embarrassing quite how much faster the plain html version is. Proof that all the fancy JavaScript gubbins do very little to enhance the experience and a whole lot to slow it down

Indeed. But they've always had both a fancy JS version and a plain HTML version, and originally the fancy JS version was just as fast if not faster.

A lot of Google's web stuff is god-awful, as far as performance. Today I tracked a most-of-a-second delay on KB input across my entire browser to... having a tab with the Google Cloud dashboard open. A really boring one with nothing going on, too. Damn near an empty view.

> Are we using the same Gmail ?

Right back at you. I've used Gmail daily since it's launch and have never experienced "slow" unless I was on a slow/poor connection. How many tabs /instances are you opening? Are you using ancient hardware?

Google Fiber, powerful MacBooks for the last decade-plus (currently an Apple Silicon machine). Normal gmail takes longer to do its AJAX requests than full-page loads on "basic HTML" gmail, consistently. Lots longer. It also likes to eat 400-500MB of memory and all the processor cycles it can get, sitting in the background.

Inbox was even worse, but I think they fattened up Gmail to match it after Inbox folded so the Inbox-loving people wouldn't suffer from increased performance when they had to switch back.

On the plus side they drove me to finally start using real, native mail clients again, so... I guess I can thank them for that.

Maybe it's a Mac thing? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I'm on PC and don't experience any of these issues. My Chrome is using <400 MB of memory with two instances of Gmail, G Drive, Google Calendar, Google Ads and a couple more tabs, and is consuming maybe 0-1% of my CPU. I routinely have 4 separate Gmail inboxes open each in their own tab.

Compose windows is instantaneous. Opening /viewing email is also nearly instantaneous. Same for search, and navigating between labels/folders.

> My Chrome is using <400 MB of memory with two instances of Gmail, G Drive, Google Calendar, Google Ads and a couple more tabs, and is consuming maybe 0-1% of my CPU.

This is... very surprising. Are you sure you're accounting for the resources each tab is taking up? They may be listed separately from the core Chrome process in the task manager.

I just opened my very boring and nearly empty Google Calendar and that tab alone eats 275MB of memory and idles bouncing around(!) between 0.2 and 1% of a CPU core (which is a lot to be doing nothing, and the way it bounces around tells me timers or WebSockets or some other unfortunate-technology-to-have-added-to-Javascript is involved)

[EDIT] for reference, loading an HN page spikes to 100-150MB of memory, then frees memory down to 40-75MB over tens of seconds, and idles around 0.0% of CPU when I'm not interacting with it. That's approximately the base cost of rendering anything and the (mostly memory) overhead of isolating tabs so they can crash independently. Calendar stays at ~275MB and constantly uses some CPU, and I bet if I watched it over time that memory use would grow.

[EDIT EDIT] basic HTML gmail hangs out around 170MB but keeps allocating then de-allocing 10-20MB more memory, bouncing up then returning to about 170MB. Then when I click on the link in the footer to load "standard" gmail instead, it spikes to 700MB(!!!) then drops to "merely" about 490MB and hangs out there indefinitely, using 0.4% CPU constantly and spiking to 2.5% periodically, while the tab is backgrounded. You are definitely not looking in the right place for your browser's total resource use.

Good luck loading your email into... what, Outlook? Thunderbird, god forbid? And having it use less...

(In fairness, I suppose Mutt's resource usage is probably lower.)

Sure, Apple Mail uses about half a GB, too (same mailbox as I just loaded in Gmail, even). But that's the whole program, with several HTML emails open (a large thread) and my entire inbox scrollable instantly at once. Major view-switches take maybe 300-500ms, and its idle CPU use sits at 0.0%, not a constant 0.4-2.5%. And it doesn't have to reach out to a server to search, so some of that (I'm guessing quite a bit of it, actually) is likely in-memory search cache. That with what amounts to two of gmail's pages open (an email thread view, and a mailbox view, side-by-side—I only had the latter open in Gmail to achieve this much memory use)

Unlike Gmail and other google properties, I can leave it open for weeks and forget it's there. It doesn't affect overall system performance—because it's not demanding CPU time and forcing context switches when it's not doing anything.

[EDIT] incidentally, has Thunderbird bloated a ton or something? I used to use it on machines with 256MB of memory total and it was not the only thing I had open, and it was totally fine. And yes, HTML email existed then. I was under the impression it was—thanks to neglect, basically—still on good, old tech and the plan to "improve" it to ditch that for bloated modern junk was still on the drawing board.

> Sure, Apple Mail uses about half a GB, too (same mailbox as I just loaded in Gmail, even). But that's the whole program

Okay... Gmail is also the whole program?

> That with what amounts to two of gmail's pages open (an email thread view, and a mailbox view, side-by-side

Huh? You can do that in a single page in gmail, too.

> incidentally, has Thunderbird bloated a ton or something?

So has everything else. I used to use Chrome because it was less resource-intensive than Firefox (back in Chrome's early days, and circa Firefox 3.5)...

> Okay... Gmail is also the whole program?

It's hosted in a browser. It gets things like HTML rendering "for free".

> Huh? You can do that in a single page in gmail, too.

I've never seen that and just tried to figure out how to do it just to see what it did to memory use. Couldn't. Did end up sitting around 680MB of memory (spiked to 800MB) looking at the same email thread I have open in Apple Mail, which, notably, doesn't exhibit those crazy memory-use spikes every time I click on anything.

[EDIT] What I'm talking about is a fairly typical email client 3-column layout, with folders and such in one column, the current mailbox or folder loaded in another (these two columns together are like the default layout when you first load Gmail), and an email thread in the remaining column, all open at once. I've never seen that in Gmail, and with both ~1min of poking around their interface and ~1min of Googling, couldn't figure out how to get that. I can get columns 1 & 2, or 1 & 3. Not 1, 2, and 3 all at once.

> So has everything else. I used to use Chrome because it was less resource-intensive than Firefox (back in Chrome's early days, and circa Firefox 3.5)

Same. FF went way downhill in a hurry after the 2.x days.

Settings > Inbox > Reading pane

Hahaha, nice, thanks. I wasn't trying to be a jerk about that, I really couldn't find it & hadn't seen it before. Sure enough, there it is.

I honestly had no idea it was hidden behind a setting, I've had it turned on for ages (though I rarely use it)

Switching to MS Teams made me much more accepting of Google suite's deficits.

Its clunky and annoying in so many ways.

If you have a normal google account, once you sign up for workspace, if you decide to no longer subscribe, you can't get your original free account functionality back. No more gmail, calendar, keep, etc. Learned the hard way

Hahaha, makes me feel so much better about my own work when I see this kind of laziness out of the rich-as-hell giants.

Dev: "OK, I finished the user story for migration from a free account to a paid account this sprint, but, again, there's a story for migration from a paid account to a free one and that'll involve compromises X and Y and there are a couple Hard Problems involved since usage may have exceeded free tier limits, and we physically migrate the account in ways that will be hard to undo since we cut corners to get this shipped, which will make it even harder. That's going to be a big chunk of work, and I think we'll need to break it up into smaller stories. Will we be going over that today?"

PM: "Ummmmmmm... yeah..." presses big red button that throws an inconvenient story into the "on ice" bucket that may as well represent "deleted" "Putting that 'on ice', we'll definitely get to it... some day."

Don’t you dare mock my standup style.

And Google Workspace still doesn't play nice with Google Home, Photos, etc. I used to pay for GSuite and switched back to Gmail because of all the services I was ironically locked out of when I paid for them.

That's the funny thing about Google Workspaces, it's really a downgrade when you look out at all the Google services you are cut out of. Google Homes does not work, which is utterly shocking to me. I pay Google for Google Workspace and fancy smoke detectors and WiFi devices and they don't integrate with each other.

Wait really? I thought my regular Google account is disconnected from a Google Workspace account? The email is just used for initial sign up.

I'm really glad I didn't try signing up for it when I was trying to setup my custom domain to host mail.

I signed up using my free account while it was gsuite. Gsuite changed to Workspace, I stopped paying for Workspace and now I can't use my original free services, and I get a blurb explaining this is because I unsubscribed from Workspace.

Possible I'm doing something wrong so I'd love to know what it is, but as far as I can tell, I can't get my free tier back.

(disclosure: googler on workspace here)

This was/is a domain account, right? @yourdomain.com? You upgraded from the free "google apps for your domain" account to a paid workspace account, and now you can't downgrade? If that's the case, that's unfortunately works as intended - that free domain-level tier doesn't exist anymore, so anyone who is on it (myself included) who starts paying and thereby upgrades to one of the current SKUs, can't downgrade to a SKU that no longer is offered.

No, I upgraded from a completely personal account, like your mom might have, to Workspace. I cancelled my Workspace subscription and now have no access to Gmail, calendar, keep, etc. I never used "google apps for your domain".

Starting from an @gmail.com account? We've always required you to have an accompanying domain for workspace accounts, as far as I know.

Reading over your previous post again I guess it was a "google apps for your domain" account. I did use my own domain and it was free, before I upgraded it (and when I upgraded it the product was still called GSuite). I wasnt aware the free tier was called "google apps for your domain". I guess then that the situation you described with the free tier no longer existing is what happened to me.

Good to know at least that I didn't do something wrong. However, there was no warning about this happening in either direction that I recall - no warning that I would not be able to downgrade and no warning upon cancelling my Workplace subscription that I would not go back to my previous free tier. Nothing I could find by some searching that described this either. I appreciate your response here, otherwise I would never have known if I did it wrong...

There was a significant period of time (~6 years) where one could upgrade to a free trial and downgrade again to the grandfathered free tier.

That feature was unfortunately removed some time in 2018.

If you had Gmail on your own domain, then it was the legacy Google Apps Free Tier. You can still create a Google account for free with a non-gmail address, and people can use that email to add you to docs and such, but it doesn't have Gmail. The days when it was called Google Apps was the last time you could get free email hosting on a custom domain.

> You can still create a Google account for free with a non-gmail address

Yeah - my email is elsewhere now, and I was hoping that by cancelling Workspace, my account would convert into the type of account you get when you sign up for Google services with a non Google email. But it didn't.

Can't OP move to Cloud Identity Free to keep access to most of the free services[1]? They wouldn't have access to Workspace-specific services like Gmail and Google Calendar, but they would still have access to Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep, and Meet. I assume other non-Workspace services like Google Play will also stay available.

1. https://support.google.com/cloudidentity/answer/7319251

I like Google, but their product teams desperately need to talk to each other. I had been a 2TB Plan subscriber for quite a while. While trying to prune and free up some space, I realize it is practically impossible to do it any way that is easy and correct.

It took me over two weeks of dedicated hourly time slots, a few automation, and many manual deletions to clean up everything. I also end up deleting essential documents that I should not have (I did have backups).

I wrote down my frustration, the horrible experience deleting all the photos (some tips included that will help if you are planning to do so) - How to delete all Photos and get off Google Photos - https://brajeshwar.com/2021/how-to-delete-all-photos-and-get...

I do have the grandfathered legacy Google Domains for Apps (may be about 10 or odd domains) and I pay for about 5 domains Google Workspaces. Teams find it easier to use Google Products (especially Gmail, and Calendar).

I had some old photos that I thought I removed and realized you have to go to https://picasaweb.google.com/, which redirects me to https://get.google.com/albumarchive/ so that I can delete them. There was no other way to find the photos.

Thanks. Now, I found a bunch of photos to delete from the Picasa days. :-)

For Gmail, the only thing that works for me is the regular Google Takeout. POP3 takes months to download all messages, IMAP is... well, IMAP and not e-mail archiving protocol. Fortunately Takeout exists so that you can just download everything to a safe place and free some space.

>While trying to prune and free up some space, I realize it is practically impossible to do it any way that is easy and correct.

I do it by connecting drive to Google colab and using bash/python as if it's a normal filesystem but admittedly even then it can occasionally behave weird (especially with bigger files). However, you can at least add whatever retry and double checking logic you want.

Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite, which was formerly known as Google Apps. It's the business version of Google products that includes additional functionality that consumer accounts don't have. https://support.google.com/a/answer/6043385?hl=en

I shall attempt to explain what this announcement actually means, since it doesn't do a great job:

1) "Starting today, all of Google Workspace is available to anyone with a Google account" there are a lot of individual business owners that have signed up for free Gmail accounts and use them to run their business, now they can pay a subscription fee to upgrade those accounts to include Workspace functionality (like Google Chat rooms, Meet recordings, Calendar appointments, ML assisted writing, device management and other business features).

2) Google Chat (their competitor to Slack) and Docs suite are getting more deeply integrated in Gmail. Enabling the ability to bring in Docs/Sheets/Slides inline with a Chat "room" for collaboration without leaving Gmail. This will only be available for Workspace users (business, enterprise, education or the new individual plan).

I'd like to point out that 'all of Google Workspace' leaves out 'minus creating shared drives' - shared drives don't count against account storage whatsoever and would probably require a large rework to become compatible with regular G accounts. Even Google Workspace for Nonprofits, which enforces a 30GB/user limit, gives accounts the ability to set up shared drives with no per-user storage limit or limit across the org.

So for people who pay 5$/user/month for having Gmail on their own domain (which is really the main use a lot of individuals have for Gsuite), this is no-op?

I believe if you're using Gmail on your own domain and paying, you're already using Workspace. I think the new individual plan is aimed at the folks with consumer @gmail.com accounts, using them for business purposes and want to upgrade.

> you're already using Workspace.

Right, but I was wondering if it is now free for @gmail.com users, would it also be free for us individual users using our own domain.

One big issue that's always existed with Gsuite/Workspace is that there's two types of usecases that are nothing alike. One is a company/school/nonprofit admins who want to manage all their employees/students. The other are people like me who literally have a single "user" and just use Gsuite to have gmail on their own domain. Unfortunately, most of the changes, features and UI really cater to the former. I've always hoped they'd make a special thing for people who don't care about any of that administration stuff and just want Gmail-on-custom-domain.

Do not use a Google Workspace account for personal use. Just get a Gmail account. There’s far too many restrictions and caveats that they’ve manufactured in the past few years (for no good reason). I’ve used Google Workspace since 2008, long before any of these restrictions existed and I wish it wasn’t a nightmare to migrate 12 years of context to a Gmail account. Google put me in lose-lose position. Don’t put yourself in one.

Agreed. I've got email set up for my family via Google Workspace and we're not allowed to manage our Nest with them. All sorts of weird "oh you're a second-class citizen" spots in Google's systems.

Family sharing of Google Play and YouTube Premium subscriptions are not available for workspace accounts either.

Which makes it a no-go once you have a family, EOT. So now the entire family have Apple services instead for the same price.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

You can use google checkout transfer to transfer everything from a workspace account to a gmail one


> Transfer Your Content is only available to authorized G Suite for Education Accounts. Please contact your administrator, or sign in with another Google Account.

Looks like it's limited to transferring just the drive docs and emails as well [0], although you can just transfer out the entire org's data if you want[1]. I highly doubt this transfers user purchases and other ownerships tied to the account such as apps, media [movies/tv shows], etc.

0: https://support.google.com/a/answer/6364687

1: https://admin.google.com/ac/customertakeout?pli=1

Workspace allows you to use Gmail with your own domain easily which is really the only reason I use it for a project.

It would be nice if they provided a route to getting old GAFYD users over to a standard Google Account.

I've still got old accounts with photos etc on that I cannot move, and the only reason I moved from GAFYD is because of so much functionality being missing.

GAFYD https://lifehacker.com/what-does-google-apps-for-your-domain...

The most annoying thing is that I got married and I now want to share my Google One account with my family

...and I cannot, unless they all have my domain.

By the way, you can sort-of "move" your photos by adding them to shared album and "saving to local" on the other side. But then, if the original account is removed, the photos are still removed (AFAIK).

I also can't have a YouTube Premium Family account, because they don't support Google Workspace accounts!

I really do wish I hadn't moved my domain over to them - but my Google Calendar, email, and Google Play purchases are all in there.

> ...and I cannot, unless they all have my domain.

You can't use family sharing on a Google Apps/G Suite/Workspace account at all, whether they share your domain or not.

Ah. I thought I could if I move them to my domain. But I guess I cannot.

Yeah, with the number of YouTube ads I've been seeing recently, I was considering a family subscription so that I could get better value for money, and share the joy.

With this restriction on Workspace accounts, I decided to just forego a subscription altogether until they get their act together.

This is one of the many reasons I'd never use Google in any business setting. I had GSuite / free-edition set up for my family. Now, new members don't have access to basic features like Google Voice without shelling out $6/month. A lot my family signed up, so I'd be looking at thousands of dollars per year.

Google is happy to drop you, mostly for an obnoxious up-sell. You're a statistic, and if they drive your business under, that's a statistic too.

As a paying customer, I built my entire family photo sharing and storage scheme on the longstanding ability to sync images between Google Drive and Google Photos.

Google removed that functionality, borked my entire system, and lost all of my trust that they know (or care about) what their customers want.

"How long until they sunset this for something new?" is the first thing that comes to mind whenever one hears about something Goog did these days.

They will sunset it without something new to replace it.

I have absolutely no idea what this announcement is actually announcing. It takes seven paragraphs to actually get there, and then announces something that I'm 99% sure was already available. My wife doesn't have a work Google Workspace account, but she can still use docs etc. What's actually changed?

I've got you covered. I watched the video, and here's what you can now do with Google Workspace:

* Be notified when packages are coming via "e mail"

* Send your own "e mail" to other people

* Organize events by date in a "calendar"

* Write an episode of Stranger Things in a "document", or if you don't happen to own the Stranger Things franchise, write about your viewing experience

* Write down a list of band names

* Sum the number of times a given child poops in a day in a "spreadsheet"

* Take part in a "meet", which is a sort of phone call but with video

I hope that clears it up.

This "e mail" thing sounds intriguing. How does the "e mailman" know where to deliver this "e mail", and do I need "e stamps"?

Check out the "Ralph breaks the internet" documentary. It has an easy to follow explanation.

The work procedures of the "e mailman" were captured in this documentary:


Remove one thing or two and this looks like the script of an Apple computer ad in 1985. Google is an Ad monopoly with a searcher tacked on, and many short-lived projects created to justify the promotions and roles of their overqualified work force. Although judging by examples like this one, I dont think all of them are over-qualified,

They need to actually diversify from search and advertising. Gcp was a good go, but isn’t here there. IMO selling tensor compute could really compete, but they are not too into that and pushing this with the cringe execution. Almost as bad as their hardware announcement for pixel devices a couple years ago. You look at goog versus aapl hardware event and the execution is kinda night and day in apple’s favor.

Great, now I have to watch it to see if you're joking about the baby pooping part.

You'll probably know by now, but sadly he wasn't joking.

Wow, this is reminding me of Microsoft's videos on how to throw a launch party to celebrate a new version of Windows.


This all reminds me too much of this joke video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ICp2-EUKQAI

>or do they want to run a program for little kindergarteners to track how many times they poop their diapers every day?


Wow, Google literally demos almost exactly that:


Judging by the clock on the range hood.. that took 1.5 hours to put in the can. LOL!

Nice catch. Not sure if you're making fun of the fact that it took so long to record all the takes for this video, but 1.5 hours seems reasonable. As an amateur, it would probably have taken me 4-5 hours to record that.

I threw one of those. Unfortunately, I missed this video, and just served alcohol and played games on a Playstation 3, and enjoyed my free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. Those Windows 7 playing cards were pretty clutch, though.

I started wondering if it's really from MS or maybe a joke but got too bored to continue watching to find out

It's sadly real.

Thanks :-) then I don't need to feel too depressed about not-that-top-great media I've produced myself once or more

I recommend Huckleberry [1] for all your baby poop tracking needs. I wouldn't want to do that shit in a spreadsheet.

[1] https://huckleberrycare.com/

All for $72/year. I'm pretty sure I could already do all those things.

And chat. You forgot “chat”!

I’m still puzzled at what’s new and what’s different from what people with (free and paid) Google accounts have.

What makes a "meet" special is that in a meet, it's socially acceptable to scream while looking at your phone.


The old Google (of Larry and Sergey) is gone.

It was gone before they left. They used to poke fun at it.

In many ways, the market has matured enough that Old Google isn't viable. Shareholders care about P&L and Google's one major innovation, "ads that work," is industry standard now. Old Google worked because ads made so much money that it drowned out everything else and gave people a lot of freedom to do crazy things.

Wall Street wants the numbers.

That's all fine and dandy, but can I make boring presentations full of bulleted lists? Because missing that would really be a deal breaker for me.

Ya I watched the video and still have no clue what this does over regular Gmail/docs combo.

Also Google's spreadsheet program is dogballs compared to excel.

Excel is certainly superior for analysis etc, but there are plenty of use cases where Google sheets is superior to excel, for instance http api to interact with your sheet. Depends what you're trying to achieve really.

I think power query in excel does http and more quite easily.

What about 'encryption'? It apparently part of it, but the examples were using a plugin written by a third party.

such ~~synergies~~ !

Wow this reminded me of this Weird al Yankovic gem: https://youtu.be/GyV_UG60dD4

Now I can finally start my Stranger Things fan-fic project!

This made my day... ... and saved me watching!

I think Workspace is Google's attempt at a Teams/Slack/Wave product. I have to use Teams at work and can't fucking stand opening Word/Excel docs in Teams. That interface forces you to focus on one thing at a time and provides no easy way to navigate between work streams while maintaining state. Why would I want that?

Basically, Workspaces is failing so they're trying to open it to a wider audience in the hopes that it won't fail. It'll probably be abandoned by October and shutdown in a year or two.

It is by no means failing; at least from what I see, their adoption is higher than it's ever been. They are making a lot of pointless changes while ignoring all the real problems they have, though. Like the fact that group Chats are still unusable for organizations with... you know... users.

The real question isn't is it failing?, it's does any employee at Google still happen to give a shit about it?

Because if the answer is no, it's going to the graveyard no matter how many users it has. (https://killedbygoogle.com/)

Workspace has SLAs[0] as well as 50+ features in development at any time [1].

0: https://workspace.google.com/terms/sla.html#:~:text=rate-,go...

1: https://support.google.com/a/table/7539891?hl=en (and this is just the public list).

Cool, it will limp along barely maintained for an extra 2 to 4 years.

It’s all that’s used at Google. The office suite isn’t going anywhere.

Same reason Blogger is immortal.

Blogger wasn’t used heavily internally. What’s your point?

Every Google product/team blog I've ever seen is on blogger.

What does Google use for internal chat?


Which means, practically, that everything is done through internal mail lists, because chat is not usable.

Pre-covid, that also strongly incentivized everyone to actually work on campus.

I don't find Chat unsuable at all. My only team related emails are bug updates which are filtered. I feel group chats on Chat is a better UX than old Hangouts.

Edit: Disc: Googler.

I've been using Google for years. These days I literally do not know what Chat is. I'm not sure if it's what I'm using, if it's embedded in what I'm using, if it's one of the embedded things I ignore, etc. (I use Google Voice, which on android I think they tried to say was chat at some point? But none of the strings seem to say that. And then in gmail, is that Chat, the thing they keep pretending anyone cares about the 5th time they rebranded and split/combined/deprecated/invented?

I think they've gone beyond making it unusable, I literally don't know how I'd find it if I wanted to, and they've long since convinced me that I shouldn't try.

Okay. You can ignore it then.

FWIW, chat.google.com wasn't rolled out for @gmail.com accounts. It was being rolled out in Google Workspace/gSuite. And this announcement rolled it out to @gmail.com accounts. Old Hangouts is replaced by Chat for text and Meet for video. You can access it at chat.google.com.

Voice is for texting with your GVoice number. It used to be possible to integrate with Hangouts but it's not integrated with Chat. Chat just works with gmail/Workspace account and not a phone number. Voice works with a phone number.

Curious how y'all find the group chats you want in the bajillions that Googlers must have by now created, given that there are exactly 0 controls on who can create groups and no ability to delete or hide them...

Oh yeah. That can be a pain. Usually someone just invites or links me to the group chat. I rarely try to find a group chat using the search but I know that it's not the best.

>I have to use Teams at work and can't fucking stand opening Word/Excel docs in Teams.

If you open Word or Excel directly, does the main page show you a list of appropriate documents to open? I have found the amount of times where the workflow requires navigating to a document through teams first to be extremely minimal. If the document isnt on the list, typing a couple characters into the Word/Excel search bar does the trick.

That works for documents you previously opened but not documents just shared. You have to jump through hoops to open them in the native app. Once you do they're in the list but it's frustrating that it won't just do that by default.

Depending on how it is shared, thats not entirely true.

There is a "shared with me" submenu on the main screen of Word / Excel. Things shared with you should show up.

If it got dragged into chat, do you have the option to right click or three dot click and open in desktop app?

In my experience, you never have to open it in the webapp before opening it in the desktop app, if you ask to open in the desktop app or open the desktop app first and then open the file.

Me to that is the one thing I hate NO Microsoft I do not want to open an office document in some bastardized web version.

Well, and the web version can't handle really basic layout stuff like existing indentation. It's worse at being word compatible than LibreOffice.

I would love a feature in Teams that was "never, ever, ever, open a link in teams - use the default browser".

Like you, I can't fucking stand it, and I make the same mistake at least once a day.

Disclaimer: I work at msft etc etc.

Th Teams lack of tabs experience is remarkably similar to the IE6 experience, and their giving it away free to try and kill Slack is similar to how IE established dominance.

Ooh another one. I've completely lost track of them at this point.

She can now pay for it? The fun part is the claim that Google Workspace was designed around security and privacy, followed by a screenshot of Gmail, which until 2017 actively scanned mails for ad personalization. I can't wait for McDonalds to announce that it was founded on the principle of a healthy vegan diet.

I don’t think Gmail advertisers could track you unless you actually clicked on an ad? By today’s standards that’s actually pretty good.

But is google an advertiser too at this point ?

They absolutely are, but "if you use Gmail then Google has access to all your emails" is not exactly a shocking security violation.

They also built a database of Amazon purchases, which lead to Amazon now sending me worthless e-mails. Thanks Gmail!

Gmail doesn't scan emails any more?

They no longer do any ad personalization based on the contents of your email, and AFAIK, they never did for paying customers.

Obviously, other systems process the contents of your email, eg spam filter, the frontend displaying the email to you, and I assume the government can get access through legal warrants (the ethics of the secrecy of such actions is a different debate - Google is required to follow the law).

Yeah, makes sense. I just hadn't heard about the ad change.

Gmail certainly does scan and process language in email, because they generate reply suggestions, and who knows what else behind the scenes.

they don't need to—remarketing is used enough that there is enough demand for ads in your specific inbox, without having to scan the contents.

They do, but they said they don’t.

What could they possibly gain from it that they don't get from data mining they do openly that's worth the inevitable lawsuits from SLA'd companies when it came out?

Apparently, an utterly incoherent announcement of:

1. a switchover to Chat (apparently some hybrid slack/discord/I can't figure out)

2. serious plans to compete with microsoft office via more enterprise capabilities

3. availability of (previously) paid gsuite-only features to individuals for $10/mo

all bundled together in a mash

I also don’t get it. I am a single user with Google G Suite (I guess called workspace) and pay $6 a month. What does this announcement mean?

I may be completely wrong here but I think some of the stuff that you are paying for will now be moved to a free tier called Workspaces Individual.

I was recently looking at it, but the only thing I can see it gets me is the ability to add a custom domain name to my emails.

I already have a custom domain, that's why I pay the $6 a month for G Suite (previously).

This is a huge point. Google is funny in how inconsistent their messaging is.

I feel that they have neat product ideas, but organizationally maybe the are oriented around engineering lines, so product might lack focus, and product marketing is an afterthought.

Remember Google+ ? Nobody knew what it was.

Remember Wave? Nobody really knew what it did.

How does the biggest company on earth fail to understand how to communicate basic things?

This product page has way too much text, and not nearly enough 'what it is' 'what it can do' and especially 'why'.

As such, it's hard to get the word out organically.

Information spreads like a virus, you want a high R0 which comes with clarity, consistency and authenticity.

Everyone knew what Google+ was. It was Google's attempt at cloning Facebook. In contrast to Wave, I don't recall any confusion on that point at or after launch.

Nobody knew what Google+ was.

'Company A strategy vs. Company B' is not something 'people' think or know about.

That's something for people in the industry to think about.

Ask your mother or father who work in Real Estate and Healthcare what 'Google+' is (back in the day) and they wouldn't really know.

And nobody knew what Wave was. I used it and couldn't understand it, other than it was a means to communicate with other people. Colossal product marketing, usability and communications failure.

I completely agree about wave (that's what I meant by "in contrast to Wave") and remember it being confusing. I disagree completely about Google+. It was marketed as a social network, which was a well-known concept at the time. Perhaps it's my own bubble but what I recall is people wondering if anyone else would be using it, not wondering what it was.

> Perhaps it's my own bubble

You'd have to ask your Circles.

As far as I remember I first thought it was some weird exclusive blog platform, that impression only turned into a "complete failure to clone facebook ran by a team of brain dead morons" when they tried to force subscribe everyone to it. It was impressive how Google could completely fail at something, of course Google and Facebook made a few deals to stay of each others turfs behind closed doors so that failure may have been intentional.

Almost. It was Google's attempt at cloning Facebook by cloning Diaspora.


Save time and just read the deprecation announcement in 6 months.

I think the original google workspace launch announcement was better: https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/workspace/introducing...

Not a lot better, but still better. There's a gif of basically integrated workflow between email, chat and document editing... I think.

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