Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is an integrated suite of web-based applications designed to streamline workflows and enhance productivity for individuals, teams, and businesses.
You’re probably familiar with some of the popular Google Workspace apps like Gmail and Google Docs. But you may not be aware that there are currently 18 apps in this workspace—each serving a unique purpose and offering a wealth of features to boost your efficiency and collaboration with others.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into each of these apps, what they do, and discuss some of their best features.
Gmail is an email tool that lets you create unique email addresses (that end with at_gmail.com or a custom domain) for sending and receiving emails. You can also use features like priority inbox, filters, favorites, and labels to manage your emails and reduce clutter. Creating a Gmail account is free, and if you don’t have one yet, you can learn to set up a new Gmail account for yourself or for others.
The Best Features of Gmail:
- Undo sending a message up to 30 seconds after clicking “send”.
- Integrates seamlessly with other Workspace apps like Drive, Calendar, and Meet.
- Advanced spam filtering algorithms to automatically identify and filter out malicious emails.
- Customize your Gmail by connecting with external apps from Google Workspace’s Marketplace.
Google Meet (formerly Hangouts) is Google’s version of Zoom—a video conferencing tool for hosting virtual meetings and webinars with friends, coworkers, or clients. You can start a meeting instantly, create one for later, or schedule it in Google Calendar. If you need help on how to do this, check out this complete guide to hosting meetings in Google Meet.
The Best Features of Google Meet:
- Engagement features like raising a hand, sending emojis, and a chat.
- Share documents, slideshows, and other documents using the screen-sharing feature.
- Provides real-time captioning in 10+ languages, including English, French, and Italian, with more being added.
- A comprehensive library of visual effects for applying filters and blurring or changing your background.
Google Chat is a messaging tool that acts as a centralized hub for seamless communication and collaboration within the Google Workspace ecosystem. It empowers teams to connect, communicate, and share files in real-time, fostering efficient project discussions and enhancing productivity.
The Best Features of Google Chat:
- Integrates with Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides for creating and sharing files.
- A native Tasks feature for creating and assigning tasks to team members.
- Have video chats by launching an instant meeting with the Add video meeting feature.
- Receive email notifications when someone mentions (using @mentions) or direct messages you.
Google Calendar is a tool that lets you schedule events, coordinate meetings, and keep track of important deadlines. You can create multiple calendars for different aspects of your personal or professional life, and toggle between calendars to view specific events or have an overview of all your activities.
The Best Features of Google Calendar:
- Share calendars with others, so they can view or schedule appointments.
- Set up customized reminders to receive alerts (via mobile or email) before events or tasks.
- Syncs perfectly with the Calendar app on your mobile device, so you can stay connected and updated.
- Access pre-made calendars with national holidays for every country and easily add them to your calendar.
Google Drive is a cloud storage platform that allows individuals, teams, and businesses to store, access, and share files from any device—as long as you have an internet connection. Any files you create in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms are automatically stored here. You can also upload files from your computer and manage all your documents by grouping them into folders and sub-folders.
The Best Features of Google Drive:
- Offers 15GB storage space for free users, which is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.
- View and edit your files on the go with Drive’s mobile app, available on Android and iOS devices.
- Offers offline access to your files, so you can work on them without an internet connection—changes are automatically synced when you re-connect to the internet.
Google Docs is Google’s version of Microsoft Word—a cloud-based word processing tool that lets users create, edit, and collaborate on documents in real-time. It has 50+ templates spanning multiple categories, including Resumes, Business letters, Proposals, and Lesson plans—making it easy to get started with your document in little to no time.
The Best Features of Google Docs:
- A simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for users of all skill levels to find their way around.
- A wide range of formatting options—from customizing text styles to generating a table of content—to create professional-looking documents.
- The revision history feature makes it easy to track changes, review edits, and restore previous content if needed.
Google Sheets is Google’s version of Microsoft Excel—a cloud-based spreadsheet app to edit and analyze data in an organized and collaborative manner. You can either enter data manually or import large datasets from multiple file formats, including CSV, TSV, XLSX, TXT, HTML, and ODS.
The Best Features of Google Sheets:
- Extensive formulas and functions for performing data manipulations, complex calculations, and statistical analysis.
- Has data visualization features like charts, heatmaps, sparklines, and pivot tables.
- Link Excel tables and charts in Google Docs and Slides and update them with the click of a button as the source data changes.
Google Slides is Google’s version of Microsoft PowerPoint—a cloud-based presentation tool that lets you create, edit, and deliver engaging presentations. You can add speaker notes, which can be helpful for organizing your thoughts or cues during a presentation. Presenter view provides a separate display that shows your speaker notes, the current slide, and upcoming slides, helping you deliver a smooth presentation.
The Best Features of Google Slides:
- Engage your audience by conducting live polls and Q&A sessions.
- Export Slides in multiple formats, such as PPTX, PDF, TXT, JPG, PNG, ODP, and SVG.
- Has 20+ templates (and more from other websites) spanning multiple categories like Pitch, Proposal, Case study, Lesson plans, and Flashcards.
Google Forms is a versatile form builder that allows you to create and distribute online surveys, quizzes, questionnaires, applications, and feedback forms. Asides text, you can add images and videos to your forms, change color schemes, and even insert your own logo. You can share the form via a link, embed it on a website, or even send it directly to specific email addresses.
The Best Features of Google Forms:
- Define required questions, enforce specific formats (such as email addresses or URLs), and limit answer choices to a particular range or pattern.
- Create branching or skip logic in your forms, guiding respondents to different sections based on their answers.
- All responses are updated in real-time under the Responses tab of the forms.
- Responses can be exported to Google Sheers (for further analysis) with the click of a button.
Google Sites is a website builder tool that allows you to design and publish websites easily. It has a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to add and arrange different elements on your website. These elements include text boxes, images, videos, Google Drive files, and embedded content via URL or code.
The Best Features of Google Sites:
- The websites created in Google Sites are responsive.
- Has 15+ customizable templates across categories like student portfolio, wedding, salon, and restaurant.
- Built-in search feature that enables visitors to search for specific content within your website.
- Integrates with Google Analytics for tracking and analyzing website traffic and user behavior.
Google Keep is note-taking app that lets you quickly jot down notes, ideas, or reminders. You can create text notes, add checklists, add images, and even add drawings and sketches on the go. The simplicity and speed of this app make it convenient for capturing information whenever inspiration strikes.
The Best Features of Google Keep:
- Add color-coded labels to your notes to categorize and organize your notes visually.
- Set time and location-based reminders on your notes and receive notifications that help you stay on top of your tasks.
- Use the Archive feature to hide notes from the main view and minimize clutter.
- Your notes are synced automatically, allowing you to access and edit them from anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
You can also build add-ons for Google Workspace applications and publish them in the Workspace Marketplace for others to use.
The Best Features of Google Apps Script:
- Apps Script supports collaboration, allowing multiple users to work together on the same script or project.
- Provides testing and debugging capabilities, including logging, breakpoints, and error handling.
- An active developer community that shares code snippets, tutorials, and best practices.
Google Cloud Search is an advanced mega-search tool that lets businesses search and retrieve data from across all Google Workspace apps (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sites, Keep, etc.) and third-party applications—with one single search query. This is much easier and faster than running an individual search query inside each of the Workspace apps.
The Best Features of Google Cloud Search:
- It’s super fast and smart—you can quickly find the exact information you’re looking for using autocomplete suggestions and even if there are a few mistakes in your search query.
- Provides a preview of search results, allowing you to quickly glance at the content and find what you’re looking for without opening it in a separate application.
- Advanced filter options (such as date range, file type, location, etc.) for quickly narrowing down your search results.
Google Jamboard is a digital whiteboard tool that lets individuals and teams jot down notes, sketch diagrams, brainstorm ideas, and visually collaborate from anywhere. It is equipped with drawing tools, sticky notes, shapes, a text box, and a laser pointer—making it easy to express your ideas creatively.
The Best Features of Google Jamboard:
- Super simple and intuitive interface which is easy to navigate even for first-time users.
- Change the background of the canvas using any of the pre-made templates or by uploading a custom image.
- Download each frame to your computer as an image or PDF file.
Google Admin is an administrative portal for managing users and devices registered on your business account. You can add new users, update user information, and organize users into organizational units for easier management.
The Best Features of Google Admin:
- Manage data storage and sharing settings within Google Drive at the organizational level.
- Control access to Workspace apps by enabling or disabling specific apps for users, and managing app settings and access permissions.
- Configure organizational settings such as customizing business logos and colors, setting up single sign-on (SSO), and managing third-party apps.
Google Endpoint is the security management feature of the Google Admin app that safeguards data and devices used in your business from cyber threats. It ensures that only authorized individuals can access information and allows you to remotely erase data when necessary.
The Best Features of Google Endpoint:
- Remotely lock or wipe data from lost or stolen business devices.
- Secure devices in your businesses regardless of their operating system.
- Enforce security policies and access controls, such as setting password requirements and enabling two-factor authentication.
Google Vault is a data archiving and retention tool that ensures compliance with legal requirements and helps with facilitating eDiscovery processes when the need arises. In addition to retention, admins can search or export data from Google Workspace apps, even when such data have been deleted by individual users.
The Best Features of Google Vault:
- Set retention policies to automatically retain data for a specified time period.
- Place legal holds on specific user accounts or organizational units, ensuring that the data associated with those accounts can’t be deleted.
- Advanced search options, including searching by specific criteria such as sender, recipient, date range, keywords, and labels.
- Export data from Google Vault in standard formats like PST (for emails) and MBOX (for chats).
Google Work Insights is an analytics tool that lets you track how users in your business use the Workspace apps. This gives you insight into user activity, app usage, and collaboration patterns—so you can optimize productivity and collaboration strategies in your business.
The Best Features of Google Work Insights:
- Filter insights by specific organizational units (aka departments, groups, or teams) and time periods.
- Tracks whether users actively use Google Workspace apps outside of working hours and on weekends.
- Interactive visualizations that present key metrics with colorful graphs—making it easy to quickly identify trends and user patterns.
Work Smarter, Faster, and More Efficiently With Google Workspace Apps
Now that you are familiar with the functionalities of all 18 tools bundled in the Google Workspace suite, you can harness the full potential of each tool to elevate both personal and team productivity.
As technology evolves, Google Workspace remains at the forefront, regularly releasing new features and updates—so it’s essential to stay updated and adapt to the latest advancements. And if you still find that Google Workspace isn’t your cup of tea, there are other alternatives worth exploring.