Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Google on Wednesday debuted a bunch of changes to G Suite, making it easier for users to move between applications and, as G Suite boss Javier Soltero told Axios, allowing even greater online collaboration.

Why it matters: The pandemic has made workplace productivity tools even more critical, as so many work from home, and amped up Google's competition with Microsoft, as well as with tools like Zoom and Slack.

The big picture: Bundling products, Soltero said, is "a very appealing opportunity for any company that sells multiple things," but these changes, he insists, are more than that.

  • Soltero points to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups as an unlikely North Star for the G Suite changes.
  • It's not just combining peanut butter and chocolate that makes Reese's unique, he argues, but the shape and way the flavors are combined. So, too, with G Suite.

Zoom, for example, offers chat, but conversations disappear once the video call ends.

  • With the new integration of Meet and Google Chat, Soltero said that conversation can live on, along with shared files and captured tasks.
  • Google isn't looking to take on project management apps like Asana, he said, but offer an easy integrated option for less hardcore project managers.

Between the lines: These changes were planned before the pandemic, dating back more than a year and were on the drawing board before Soltero arrived. However, Soltero confirmed that some of the moves were sped up, including the integration of Meet video chatting into Gmail earlier this year.

  • The deeper integrations unveiled Wednesday are limited to paid G Suite accounts and won't be visible to consumers. And, though Google made the enterprise features of Meet free until September, Soltero said Google plans to limit those features to paid users after that point.

Go deeper

Jul 28, 2020 - Technology

Tech defenders, critics line up shots ahead of hearing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Either Big Tech's top companies preside benignly over healthily competitive markets, or they ruthlessly exploit their power to crush upstarts and challengers.

The big picture: Which conclusion you draw will depend upon where you dip into the slew of new studies, polls and policies the firms and their critics are unleashing ahead of Wednesday's historic congressional testimony by the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 48 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.