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Here's how Google’s rival to Microsoft Office, G Suite, came together

G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Your Domain) is a brand of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google, launched on August 28, 2006.

G Suite comprises Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+ for communication; Drive for storage; Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites for collaboration; and, depending on the plan, an Admin panel and Vault for managing users and the services.It also includes the digital interactive whiteboard Jamboard.

As of 2015, Google held 3 percent of the enterprise productivity suite software market, with an estimated $397.4 million in revenue, according to research firm Gartner. Microsoft, with almost $12.7 billion in revenue, held a little more than 95 percent.
That’s a gap Google clearly hopes to close with its recent push into enterprise. The company has been adding artificial intelligence features to tools, and even released a piece of hardware that integrates with G Suite, its Microsoft Office competitor, in an effort to attract the kind of enterprise customers that are entrenched in Microsoft products.
One large customer that Google recently announced it had lured to G Suite is Verizon, which shifted 150,000 of its employees to the platform.
G Suite is offered to professional customers in different price tiers (basic, business and enterprise) and different versions. A free version of G Suite for educators, for example, is comparable to the business version, but with some modifications, according to a Google spokesperson.
Many tools that are part of G Suite are available for free to consumer users with Google accounts; these tools include Gmail, Hangouts communications tools, word processor Docs and Excel competitor Sheets.
Before G Suite, there were free business Gmail accounts, which came after the release of the consumer version of Gmail. Here’s a compact rundown of the origins of G Suite, and how it expanded and changed over time:
2004: The consumer version of Gmail launched as an invitation-only product that was still in testing, according to Matthew Glotzbach, former director of product management for Google Apps and Google Enterprise.
2005/2006: By early 2006, Google announced Gmail for Your Domain, and San Jose City College was one of the first organizations to test it. Glotzbach said the apps and tools that make up what is now called G Suite were layered into this professional version of Gmail.
2006: Later in 2006, Google launched Google Apps for Your Domain, the first iteration of what eventually became known as G Suite. This included Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk (the precursor to Google Hangouts, which in its current form offers text, video and audio conversation options), and web publishing tool Google Page Creator, the precursor to Sites. The company offered a free version of the suite and was still working on a premium paid version.
2007: Google Apps Premier Edition, the first paid version of Google Apps, was released. New features included more storage and 24-hour support, according to a Google spokesperson. In a press release about the news, Google named Procter & Gamble Global Business Services, and Prudential Preferred Properties as customers. Also in 2007, Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, the latter now called Sheets, which were existing offerings from Google, were incorporated into paid and free versions of the suite.
2011: Google set a limit of 10 users per account for the free version of Google Apps. It’s not clear how many users had previously been allowed on the free version, but according to a user who wrote in a help forum, the company had previously allowed up to 50 users on a free account.
2012: This is the year Google stopped offering free Google Apps accounts to new users. Legacy free accounts stopped receiving new features added to paid accounts at this time, according to a Google spokesperson. However, to date, legacy accounts are still supported. These accounts differ from consumer Gmail and Google accounts, which give users access to free versions of certain apps in G Suite, in that they have features otherwise limited to paid accounts, including customizable domains, freedom from ads in Gmail and support for multiple users if already included on the account.
Also in 2012, Google added cloud storage service Google Drive to the suite of tools; it’s currently available to both paying and non-paying consumer users, though it’s unclear if it may have been for paying customers only in the beginning. Google also added archiving service Vault, which is available to certain tiers of paying customers and can also be purchased separately, according to the spokesperson.
Also during this year, a slideshow tool previously incorporated into Docs was broken out as its own tool, Slides, according to a Google spokesperson.

2015: Google hired Greene to lead enterprise efforts including cloud computing and productivity applications. The move was read as indication that the company is serious about making a bigger play in the enterprise market, where it has lagged behind Microsoft and Amazon.
2016: Google Apps was rebranded as G Suite. The rebranding came with a lot of name-changing which is explained here. Google announced a piece of hardware called the Jamboard that integrates with G Suite tools. Jamboard is an interactive screen that automatically saves images created on it and can be shared with remote workers by video chat. The company additions include a new tool called App Maker, which helps developers create new apps for G Suite.

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