Search giant Google has recently announced plans for changes to its G Suite that will make it easier for people without a Google account to collaborate on documents created through the company’s programmes.
Millions of people use the Google G Suite to create documents for business purposes, and many need to then share them with clients, partner companies and agencies. At present, this can get tricky if they do not have a Google account of their own.
Google has now addressed this and is testing a new feature that will enable users of its G Suite to invite those without accounts or subscriptions to work and collaborate on files on the suite by sending a PIN code to access documents.
Using this PIN will allow invited personnel to view documents, suggest edits to them, comment on aspects of the documents and directly edit any document shared with them in Google Docs, Slides and Sheets. As is the case anyway, the admins and owners of the G Suite files will be able to monitor the usage and activity of those being granted access through the suite’s activity logs.
Furthermore, the admins can revoke access to documents at any time. According to a support article, admins will also be able to set document permissions by domain or department to ensure that only what needs to be shared is. This will include restrictions on sharing documents outside of particular organisations or white-listed domains.
The feature is currently being tested in beta format, and companies can sign up to become part of the test sample by filling in a form and selecting a domain not recognised by G Suite that the company wishes to collaborate with on a regular basis.
According to an article published by Reuters back in February, Google has managed to double the number of organisations signed up to a G Suite subscription since it intensified its focus on enterprises, with the number of subscriptions now standing at over four million. Despite doubling its user base, it still doesn’t come close to overhauling main rival Microsoft and its Office 365 products as the go-to software for businesses.
In 2016, Office 365 generated $13.8 billion (£10.8bn) in sales in comparison to the $1.3 billion (£1bn) generated by G Suite according to statistics from Gartner. However, in an attempt to bridge the gap and make its product more compatible with those using Office 365, G Suite has introduced a number of new features, which includes enabling users of Google Drive to comment of files, PDFs and Images from Office without having to convert them into a Google Docs, Sheets or Slides file first.
While this move from Google may not convince Microsoft users to switch to Google G Suite, it may help businesses get more comfortable with using it as an alternative.