15 years ago, if you were writing a document, chances are you were doing it in Microsoft Word. Part of the company’s wildly successful Office suite, Word was the de-facto option for drafting text, whether you were an author, an office worker, a student, a teacher… you get the point.
But , Google has never been able to stick with a coherent messaging plan for consumers or businesses. At some point, Google Chat (née Hangouts) could have been a solid Slack competitor, as well as the web that connects all the content people work on, but the company missed the boat as Slack solidified its dominance over the past five years. Even though Google Workspace has a huge user base, it hasn’t made inroads in the messaging side — which is what pulls a modern workplace together.
That said, Google’s Smart Canvas (announced at I/O this year) could be its own version of Fluid, a way to unify disparate forms of content and communication all in one place. From what we’ve seen so far, Smart Canvas has various “building blocks” that you can pull all into a single canvas — like a Meet call alongside a Google Doc for taking notes and a to-do list to assign items to team members. It’s only rolling out on a limited basis to paying Google Workspace customers, but it’s definitely worth watching to see how it evolves.
No one can really say what other cultural workplace shifts, like those brought on by COVID-19, will happen in the next 15 years. And those shifts are probably what will drive the most significant changes in products meant for work.