Google has given Gmail a bit of a facelift give that it hasn’t changed much since it was launched in 2004 where back then to get an account you had to be invited and it was still very much a beta but it was a massive sigh of relief knowing that I was no going to be bombarded with ads left, right and centre as with the case of Microsoft and their insistence on the banner ads on the side. I’ve given it a try and so far I like it – it maintains the same basic layout whilst giving it a facelift which is something I think will relieve many long time users of Gmail who have seen other refreshes of their favourite sites only to find that it has made the experience worse rather than better:
it also comes with new features that are oriented towards businesses ( link ) that have kept many businesses in the fold of Microsoft for quite some time which will be interesting to see how many businesses have been holding off from going to Google because the lack of those digital rights management features (regulate how and who get to see which documents). I know at my own work place we have wall to wall Google with Chrome Boxes being provided for the desktops, all the laptops are Chromebooks, we use Google GSuite services along with Chromecast and Hangout Meet which marries up Hangouts with hardware to deliver a coherent experience for businesses needing to do collaborative work, conferencing etc. Basically if you can imagine if Team and Skype came together with all their bad parts removed and voila you end up with a coherent product for end users. The big thing I think for a lot of businesses is getting to used to using Google Docs but once you’ve gotten used to it you’re left asking yourself how you ever put up with Microsoft Office in the first place especially if you’re someone like me and never used even 5% of the total features which I hazard to guess that for a lot of office workers that is also the case as well.
Chrome is also going through its own remake with the ‘Canary’ build (the build with the most recent cutting edge features but potentially buggy) being released with the new rounded tabs and ‘Material 2’ influenced design design where Google appears to be trying to blur the line between their website and their browser so that there isn’t that jarring disjointed feel between the look and feel of their applications vs. the look and feel of their web services. It’ll be interesting to see what is going to happen going forward especially with the world being done regarding their new operating system called Fuchsia where ART (Android Run Time) now has references to Fuchsia. The rumour is that long term Google is going to unify their whole operating system line for all their devices around Fuchsia with the Android framework being there for compatibility but long term the unified framework that they’ll want developers to aim for is Flutter for new development – I’m sure they’ll announce a migration path in the next few years. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft responds to this because the biggest threat Google poses isn’t to Apple but to Microsoft – my own work place has wall to wall ChromeOS and Android devices so as Google’s services become more sophisticated and operating system more feature complete the greater the temptation it will be for many businesses to consider the switch especially those that are already on Windows 7 and part of that migration means an already large investment requirement just to get things compatible with Windows 10.