Google plans to leverage G Drive for broader enterprise footprint, team management and collaboration

Google Suite is going to double down on G Drive, which has 800 million monthly active users, to win more enterprise wallet share. The move will make Google more of a Box competitor.


The upshot here is that G Suite and Drive is going to become more of a competitor to Box. (Image: Google)

Google's cloud unit sees its Google Drive as the hub for enterprise productivity and collaboration and has stepped up its compliance controls in a bid to win over more customers.

In other words, Google Suite, or G Suite, is using Drive, which has 800 million monthly active users, as its beachhead for enterprise document management.

"We see the opportunity there and it can evolve from being personal storage to the needs of the enterprise," said Prabhakar Raghavan, vice president of apps at Google. Raghavan also noted that Google has acquired AppBridge, a Vancouver company that builds connectors to migrate content.

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"AppBridge has the connectors to siphon content up to Google Drive," said Raghavan.

Raghavan spent a lot of time during his Google Cloud Next keynote talking about meeting enterprises where they are when it comes to security and compliance standards. G Suite is adding a Google Drive for the enterprise, Team Drives, team tools such as Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat and add-on platforms for Gmail. In addition, @meet, a machine-learning bot, was launched to use natural language to schedule meetings. The announcements were part of a push to take Google Suite more into the productivity space with enterprise scale.

The upshot here is that G Suite and Drive is going to become more of a competitor to Box, which is ahead on collaboration, content management and compliance requirements. However, Google is hoping G Suite and its Google Cloud Platform creates a sales flywheel for more enterprise wallet share. Separately, Box said its platform would integrate with Google's productivity tools.

Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, said in an interview that the Google Drive moves were relevant for team use cases among small businesses. He said the Google Drive enhancements "were a compelling update," but he also noted that Box is "more about cloud content management, compliance and multi-department enterprise workflows."

In other words, Google and Box will compete in areas and cooperate in a lot more. "What we're going to see happen is a lot more co-opetition," said Levie. "Customers are focused on best-in-class user experiences in the cloud." As result, Box's integration with Gmail and Hangouts makes sense, but Levie's company isn't likely to combine forces with Google Drive.

Key additions to Google Drive include the following:

  • Team Drives, which allow teams to manage permission, file access and ownerships for an organization. Team Drives are available in G Suite Business, Education and Enterprise.
  • Drive File Stream is an early adopter program tool that allows employees to get cloud storage content without a sync or download.
  • Google Vault for Drive adds more controls for legal requirements.

Google's cloud team also outlined new tools for Hangouts, Jamboard, and collaboration apps. But don't take your eye off of Google's broader strategy. The gist is that Drive is the key to G Suite and Google is going to extend that platform as much as possible. Drive is also an easy entry to Google Cloud Platform's broader storage plays.

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