Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Google is gearing up to be a serious contender to Microsoft, it seems. After several updates over the past few months, Google’s Workspace is finally being made available to everyone for free.

That’s right, if you have a Google account, you can access Workspace, Google’s integrated communication and collaboration service for free! Workspace enables deeper collaboration between users. If you’re looking for something more from your Workspace, the “Google Workspace Individual” is just for you. At $9.99 a month, you will have access to a host of Workspace tools, including smart booking services, professional video meetings and personalized email marketing, and others. This premium mode will roll out “soon” in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, and Japan.

If you are a subscriber, you can easily manage all your personal and professional commitments from one place with access to Google support.

“Collaboration doesn’t stop at the workplace — our products have been optimized for broad participation, sharing, and helpfulness since the beginning,” said Javier Soltero, VP, and GM, Google Workspace, adding that their focus was on delivering consumers, workers, teachers, and students alike an equitable approach to collaboration, while still providing the flexibility that allows these different subsets of users to take their own approach to communication and collaboration.

Users can now switch between the new Google chat (something that only paying Workspace users had access to till now), and Hangouts. Starting today, they can enable the integrated experience in Google Workspace once they turn on Google Chat in Gmail.

It was back in October 2020 that Google announced updates to Workspace, starting with its new brand and identity, which represented what Google believed to be the “future direction and real opportunity around our product — less around being a suite of individual products and more around being an integrated set of experiences that represent the future of work.”

If that is not enough, Google Meet is getting a new Companion Mode, which will give the meeting participants access to interactive features and controls like polls, in-meeting chat, hand raising, Q&A, live captions, their own video tile, and more. This feature will roll out in September.

Additionally, the new moderation controls will let hosts prevent in-meeting chat and prohibit presenting during meetings, allowing them to mute and unmute participants, while the RSVP option will let invitees select whether they would be joining remotely or in a meeting room.

Finally, with the help of Spaces, Rooms in Google Workspace will now evolve into a dedicated place for organizing people, topics, and projects in Google Workspace, having a host of new features including in-line topic threading, presence indicators, custom statuses, expressive reactions, and a collapsible view. Files and tasks can now seamlessly integrate with Spaces.