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6 min read

An Intro to G Suite

By Matthew Guay · May 10, 2017

When Google first released their email app, Gmail, on April Fool's Day 2004, it hardly looked like the email app that could displace Microsoft Exchange's rule of the business email market. It was innovative, sure, with an at-the-time generous 1GB of storage, and its label-based mail organization and fast search still set it apart from other email services. But it was primarily a competitor for Hotmail and other personal email services.

Piece by piece, though, Google built an enterprise-ready suite. Microsoft built the original office suite, but it took Google to take it beyond desktops and into the cloud. The following year, it acquired Writely, a simple online writing app which became Google Docs. Other apps soon followed, bundled together into what was then called Google Apps for Your Domain, later simplified to Google Apps for Business before its recent rebranding as G Suite.

G Suite ties all of Google's apps together into the original online office suite. Odds are, you already use some of Google's apps every day. Perhaps your personal email is on Gmail, or your photos might be backed up to Google Drive. Maybe you already collaborate with colleagues in Google Docs and Sheets.

The next best thing is to bring that to your business. Instead of buying Microsoft Office or another suite of office tools, from $5/month you can get those same apps along with management features and custom branding for your team, on your own domain. You'll get the same great features your team is already used to using in their personal lives, ready to make your team more productive at work.

The Google Apps

Gmail for business
G Suite gives you Google-style features, with your company

Email. Contacts. Calendars. Those three apps form the core email suite trio—they're the three apps you should expect to get with any new email account, the minimum you should want for your team.

Documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and notes—they're the files that make work work, that showcase your new project and last quarter's performance and your ideas for the future. They're such a crucial part of computing, it's hard to imagine a computer today without an office suite.

The best option in the past was to run Microsoft Exchange or another email service on your company's email server for the first three, then buy a copy of Microsoft Office for each of your team's computers for the latter three apps. Google's G Suite offers a simpler option, with one online account that gives you all 6 apps in your teams' browsers. There's nothing to install, and in an hour or so, you can set up the entire set of software for your team.

G Suite's individual apps are great on their own, modern tools with everything you need to make documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The individual features aren't the main reason to use them, though.

What makes G Suite great is how it's built for collaboration. You can share your files with anyone—even publicly on the web if you like—and let them all jump in and help craft a masterpiece. You can live-edit with others at the same time, or leave comments that Google will email for feedback later (even directly from the inbox—just reply to the email to reply to the document comment).

And since G Suite lives in the browser, it works anywhere, anytime. It can even work while you sleep. Add a Google Form to your Google Sheets spreadsheet and new answers will show up in your sheet automatically, ready the next time you log in. Add some add-ons and integrations to your G Suite account, and your Sheets can crunch numbers on their own.

It's simpler to set up, simpler to administrate, with modern new tools that will help your team work together more efficiently. Here's what you'll get with that one account:


for email

Business Gmail

The email app you know and love, Gmail is the perfect tool to handle your company's communications. With G Suite, you'll get all of Gmail's features on your own domain, with your company's logo in the top left corner. Google can even keep logs of your team emails for compliance purposes if needed, or let you remotely wipe an employee's device if it gets lost or stolen—one of the many advantages of using G Suite over personal Gmail accounts.

Get more out of Gmail with Zapier's guide with 30+ ways to optimize Gmail.

Google Contacts

for contacts

Google Contacts for Business

The newly redesigned Google Contacts is one of the best things about Gmail. Odds are you'll rarely use it—instead, you'll add contacts and auto-complete them in new emails right from Gmail. Open an email, and Google Contacts is already there, showing you details and related info in the sidebar. It's a powerful enough address book, we called it one of the best free CRM apps you could use.

Google Calendar

for calendar events

Google Calendar

All of your work doesn't happen behind a screen, which is why you need Google Calendar. It manages your appointments, help you plan meetings when they'll fit in everyone's schedule, and makes sure you remember far enough in advance. It even shares a simple to-do list, Google Tasks, with Gmail for a simple way to manage your tasks, too.

Get the most out of Google Calendar with the Zapier guide to 30+ ways to supercharge Google Calendar.

Google Docs

for documents

Google Docs

Google Docs is, along with Gmail, the original app in G Suite, the tool that made us start opening a browser to do office tasks. It's a powerful word processor that opens Word files more reliably than most of its competitors, with collaboration features that make it one of the easiest ways to build an editorial workflow today.

Google Sheets

for spreadsheets

Google Sheets

Spreadsheets were the original killer app for PCs, and Google Sheets is one of the best reasons to use G Suite. It's a powerful spreadsheet app that can pull in data from the web and let your team work on one sheet at the same time. With 351 supported functions—along with a wide range of add-ons including many originally designed for Excel—it can handle almost any number crunching problem you throw at it.

Google Sheets is so powerful, we wrote a book about it, too. Be sure to check out Zapier's Ultimate Guide to Google Sheets to get the most out of Google's spreadsheet app.

Google Slides

for presentations

Google Slides

Need to present your findings? Google Slides is a simple way to make presentations about anything you need. It's not as flashy as Keynote or PowerPoint—with fewer animations, for one—but makes it easy to present from anywhere since all you need is a browser.

Google Forms

for forms and surveys

Google Forms

You can manually add data to your Google Sheets spreadsheets, but it'd be a lot easier if someone did it for you. Google Forms is the tool for that. It's a click away from your Google Sheets spreadsheets, with drag-and-drop form fields to gather the data you need. When new answers come in, they'll automatically be added back to your spreadsheet, ready for you to analyze later.

Learn more about Google Forms in our Zapier Guide to Google Forms.

Google Keep

for notes

Google Keep

Need a quick way to save things you find online, jot down a quick list of tasks, and brainstorm your next project ideas on virtual sticky notes? Google Keep is the notes app for you. One of the newer additions to G Suite, Keep is a great tool to write quick notes about anything you need to remember.

Google Drive

for file sync and storage

Google Drive

You need somewhere to store all the documents and spreadsheets your team makes, along with the other files you make outside of G Suite. Google Drive has you covered. With 30GB of storage per user (or unlimited storage on G Suite's $10/month per user Business plan), you can store and save every file your company needs, and share them across the team.

Google Sites

for web pages and intranet sites

Google Sites

Need to turn that report into a website, or mockup a new landing page for your team? Perhaps you just need a simple intranet, a way to build reference documents to share inside your company. Google Sites is perfect for that and more. Quickly add text, photos, and video to your page, them embed Google files for a quick way to showcase your work.

Google Hangouts

for team chat

Google Meet

Your team needs to talk about your work, too—and as nice as Gmail is, it's still not the best way to quickly get answers from a colleague. Hangouts lets you jump on a quick voice or video call instead. Bring in your whole team to talk about ideas—or, in Google Chat, you can keep the conversation going all day in text chat rooms.

Learn more about Google Hangouts in our Zapier Guide to Google Meet, Hangouts, and Chat.

G Suite Admin
G Suite Admin brings your company

Tying it all together is the G Suite Admin, the control panel for your company's Google apps. That's where you'll set up your account, add new users, and keep things secure. It's where you'll turn off apps your company doesn't need, track how G Suite's being used by your team, and manage devices and users when needed. It's the one tool you need to administer your company's email and other office tools—and it's where we'll spend the most time in this book.

Get the Office Suite of the Future, Today

With 10+ of the best office tools, all designed to help your company work together more efficiently, G Suite is one of the most important sets of software you could add to your team's workflow. All you need to do is create one G Suite account for your company, customize it for the way your team works, bring in your own data, and get everyone working together in one place.

Instead of needing an entire team to manage your company's IT, anyone can set up G Suite and get enterprise-grade email and document management for their company—from 5 person startups to Fortune 500's.

Learn how to create your G Suite account.

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