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Views from the Cloud

Javier Soltero Answers Customer Questions on Google Workspace and Collaboration in the Cloud

Posted by Sabina Bhasin | December 1, 2020

Author’s Note: Javier Soltero, VP, and general manager of Google Workspace and Google Cloud answered direct questions from the C2C community in our latest thought leadership conversation (access full recording here). However, we had such rich participation that time ran short and we couldn’t answer all of the audience questions. Read on to learn what we know now, and mark your calendar for a more in-depth discussion about Google Workspace on Dec. 8—sign up for it here. 

 

We got to know Javier a little bit earlier, so in the Rockstar Conversation, Sean Chinski, C2C Chief Customer Officer, had a little more fun with Javier Soltero and broke the ice with some trivia. 

Soltero not only shared a peek into the future plans for Google Workspace, but he also shared what drives him, like his Puerto Rican heritage and serving on Grupo Guayacán, a Puerto Rico-based nonprofit organization.

“To come out to Silicon Valley after college and working here has been a real joy and an opportunity to bring a different perspective on products,” Soltero said. “I also hope to act as a source of inspiration and proof for a lot of people, not only Puerto Rico or other parts of Latin America, to see examples of people who were able to work on products that have such broad reach.”

Hear the whole comment below.

 

Progressing through the myriad questions provided by our engaged community, one question rose to the top:

What are the upcoming features for Workspace? 

Currently, new features are only ideas, but they could include video, intelligence capabilities for calendaring, and more. Although Soltero didn’t have specific details to provide, he did share how he and his team are approaching enhancing the current suite of products.

“Google products have a point of view,” he said. “They’re opinionated products; they bring a point of view to everything that they do. So as we look to the future, I worked with a team to say, ‘look, we have these products, they have a point of view on everything, so what are our core opinions that are true today and will be true tomorrow?’”

We also wanted to know what Soltero and his team are focused on despite the pandemic altering team collaboration to strictly use online tools. 

What are the three primary goals for the new direction of Google Workspace? 

Javier and his team started developing their goals by asking themselves one question: “What did we learn these last eight months of disruption in our lives?” 

This is what they learned:

  • Work is not defined by the place you go, but where it needs to happen. That has significant implications.
  • Manage time and attention because you have competing demands. 
  • Establish and foster human connection in a world governed by video calls.  

The ultimate goal, he said, is about responding to the lessons learned and evolve the existing 

set of products in a way that is going to not only make a difference in people’s lives today but also in the future now that communication and collaboration have adapted to a remote-first environment.

As the world still evolves and adapts to new norms, TikTok made the current quarantined world accessible in a fun, creative way. 

So we wanted to know, does Javier also have a TikTok, or will Google be building an enterprise TikTok? 

 

 

Okay, so maybe a Google version of TikTok isn’t in the near future, but what about other ideas for videos?

Would Google Workspace enhancements feature internal audio/video end-to-end communication? 

“Yes, that’s an easy one. Absolutely. That was great about Hangouts, and it’s an important missing capability for us to facilitate on-demand, ad-hoc calling,” Soltero said. 

Soltero added that starting in Q1 and into Q2, innovation will accelerate in a responsible and deliberate manner.

Hear Javier explain Google Video Calling using Google Meet and what’s coming next.

 

As Soltero works on figuring out the future of collaboration and the suite of tools that will make Google Workspace indispensable. 

What is the early reaction to Google Workspace?

Our community was curious about how well Workspace is resonating with the Google Cloud and G Suite long-haulers. 

“It’s hard to frame in terms of conversions,” he said. “We’re taking our entire customer base through the transition. So everyone is moving to Workspace, and the feedback we’ve gotten is positive.”

But that doesn’t mean Soltero and the team are resting on their laurels, reaping the benefits of positive feedback. He is mindful of the lift change brings to support teams. 

 

 

Speaking of support teams, they often get peppered with questions about creating personalized workflows or workspaces.  

So our community wanted to know, are there any plans for low-code development or personalization tools? 

“Sure, one of the most obvious points here is AppSheet, which is a recent acquisition from Google Cloud, and we’re working with the team to develop a low-code, no-code experience,” he said.

Soltero also discussed how being remote curtailed collaboration since he relies on whiteboards to paint ideas, but in the current remote environment, he uses Jamboard and Chat to stay connected. He further described how he personalized his workspace and Workspace. Soltero even shared how he personalized his workspace and Workspace. 

 

 

Personalization comes up a lot when we think of certain environments, like education or medicine. Google Workspace, as Soltero explained, is working to evolve its suite of products and services toward improving productivity, regardless of verticals, in two ways: 

  1. Human connection: Before you get to the industry, you have to truly satisfy the need for accessibility and reach of communications and collaboration.
  2. Level of prescriptive buildout: The art of building the products correctly is to have the right set of strong opinions about the right things. 

Soltero illustrates his two points by discussing email in the clip below.  

 

 

Unfortunately, the conversation quickly ran out of time, but Javier left us with a closing remark.

“Hit me up on TikTok!,” he joked. “No, thank you for being our customers and our fans and our critics, keeping us honest and pushing us to do better work.”

***

Upcoming Event: C2C Deep Dive on Dec. 8

Thank you for sending us questions and being such an active part of our community. We’re taking your questions with us to the upcoming C2C Deep Dive covering Google Workspace Efficiencies on Dec. 8 with Diane Chalef, Workspace lead at Google. 

 

Topics will include:

  1. APIs or further integrations
  2. Enhanced admin tools
  3. Google Workspace and Google Home/Nest
  4. Google Workspace road map, and if customers can participate 
  5. Google Meet in 1080p

Join us and hear the answers to your questions! Use this link to register. 

Topics: Applications, Infrastructure, Google Workspace