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

Google's 20-year path from David to Goliath

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It's taken Google two decades to transform from a beloved search innovator into a Big Tech behemoth.

Flashback: At Google's launch 22 years ago, it provided accurate, simple, fast results — unlike its competitors in search, which had become bloated "portals" — and quickly won the hearts first of Internet insiders and then of the broader public.

U.S. vs. Google — the siege begins

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The Justice Department fired the starter pistol on what's likely to be a years-long legal siege of Big Tech by the U.S. government when it filed a major antitrust suit Tuesday against Google.

The big picture: Once a generation, it seems, federal regulators decide to take on a dominant tech company. Two decades ago, Microsoft was the target; two decades before that, IBM.

Oct 20, 2020 - Technology

Google calls antitrust case "deeply flawed"

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the House Judiciary Committee last July. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Google says the Justice Department's lawsuit alleging competitive abuses is "deeply flawed" and would fail to help consumers.

Driving the news: The Justice Department and 11 states Tuesday filed an antitrust case against Google, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize the online search and search advertising markets.

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