What is Google Workspace?

Google Workspace – previously known as G Suite – is a subscription service operated by Google. It provides businesses with a collection of productivity tools, including email, office applications and cloud data storage. Google offers a number of subscription packages aimed at businesses of different sizes and priced similarly to Microsoft’s Office 365 tiers.

What’s included in Google Workspace?

Workspace brings together many familiar Google Services, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sheets. Cloud storage is provided through Google Drive, and chat and video conferencing are handled through Google Chat and Google Meet.

Google Workspace is almost entirely cloud-based: the main apps are accessed through a web browser, or via mobile apps which serve as a front-end to the hosted services. By default, all documents, data and messages are stored on Google’s servers. This greatly simplifies information-sharing and collaboration – including real-time collaboration in Docs and Sheets.

Cloud storage also allows Workspace users to access their applications and data from any device and any location, making it convenient for hotdesking and hybrid working.

How is Google Workspace different to Google’s free services?

The main Google apps included in Workspace are also available as free standalone services. However, a Workspace subscription allows companies to use their own email domain for the Gmail service (rather than generic @gmail.com addresses). It also permits more than 100 participants in video meetings, up to a maximum of 500 with the top-tier plans.

Google Drive storage is expanded from the basic free 15GB allowance too. Business plans go up to 5TB per user, while enterprise plans offer unlimited storage.

Workspace additionally includes the Google Vault tool, which allows administrators to search, manage and back up user data held in Google Workspace. And unlike the free offerings, all Workspace subscriptions include live 24/7 customer support.

What are the limitations of Google Workspace?

Google’s web-based apps tend to be less feature-rich than rival suites that run natively on the desktop. For example, Microsoft Word has extensive layout and referencing features that aren’t present in Google Docs.

And because Workspace is based in the cloud, users may not be able to access their documents when an internet connection isn’t available. However, many Workspace apps can be used in offline mode, and will automatically resynchronise with Google’s servers once the connection is re-established.

The cloud model also has implications for sharing or backing up data outside of the platform, as large documents can be slow to download from Google’s servers. And as with all cloud services, IT departments have no control over infrastructure or administration: the performance, security and consistency of the service are entirely in Google’s hands.


  • Workspace is Google’s integrated office suite, including productivity apps, communications tools and data storage. 
  • The service is cloud-based, with most functions accessed through a web browser or mobile apps. 
  • While many Workspace features can be used for free, subscribers can use their own email domain and access customer support. 
  • Although the cloud model is convenient for hotdesking and collaboration, it has implications for data management. 
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Darien Graham-Smith

Darien is one of the UK's most knowledgeable technical journalists. You will find him in PC Pro magazine, writing reviews for a variety of sites and on guitar with his band The Red Queens. His explainer articles help TechFinitive's audience understand how technology works.