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Is it just me or does Google change the names of its apps... a lot. Google has been constantly evolving its product names over the years. Some of these changes have been minor, while others have been more significant. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most notable Google product name changes and explore the reasons behind them.
While some products like Google Docs, Google Scholar, and Google Video Search have maintained their names over the years, other things Google offers have seen substantial brand shifts.
Apple has recently removed the “i” moniker in many of its products, as seen in items like AirPlay and AirPods. But whereas Apple’s name changes are often heavily promoted, the same isn’t the same for Google. Sometimes Google product names change without much of the public being aware of it. Users are already accustomed to using these products to where they don’t pay much attention to these new names.
Here’s a look at Google's product name evolution and some of the different product name changes, and Gooogle product rebranding that have come about over the years.
#1. Google Workspace
- 2006 – Google Apps
- 2016 – G Suite
- 2020 – Google Workspace
2006: Google Apps was formed as a series of cloud-based programs people can use for productivity purposes. Google Contacts, Drive, Currents, Gmail, and Calendar are among the apps in this suite of programs.
2016: G Suite was renamed G Suite in 2016, and it became Google Workspace in 2020. The platform still offers Gmail and all those other convenient programs. These items can also integrate with one another, providing a simplified way to manage different tasks and projects as necessary.
2020: Google Workspace (as it's called now) is a suite of productivity and collaboration tools that helps businesses of all sizes work more efficiently and effectively. It includes Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, Chat, and more.
- Gmail: A secure and reliable email service with a powerful spam filter and search capabilities.
- Calendar: A shared calendar that makes it easy to see when everyone is available and schedule meetings.
- Drive: A cloud storage service that allows you to store, share, and collaborate on files.
- Docs: A word processor that allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on documents.
- Sheets: A spreadsheet program that allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on spreadsheets.
- Slides: A presentation program that allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on presentations.
- Meet: A video conferencing tool that allows you to hold online meetings with colleagues, customers, and partners.
- Chat: A messaging tool that allows you to chat with colleagues in real time
#2. Google Business Profiles
- 2005 – Google Local Business Center
- 2009 – Google Places for Business
- 2014 – Google My Business
- 2022 – Google Business Profiles
Google Business Profiles is a powerful service that lets businesses of all kinds adjust how they will appear on Google search results and Google Maps. Groups can list their addresses, menus, listings of products and services, contact details, and business hours, among other things.
The Google My Business name came in 2014, the same time this system expanded to include more identity control features for business use. The Google Business Profiles name is a more descriptive look at what this system does, so it’s no surprise Google would use this different name.
Google Business Profiles is the fourth name this service has utilized. Google Places was established as a name to highlight how Google wanted to create miniature websites for each business on Google Maps. There was also an attempt to unite many Google products in 2011 through the “Google +” moniker, but that did not catch on.
- Google Business Profiles is used by over 150 million businesses worldwide, and growing daily.
- Businesses with a Google Business Profile are twice as likely to be found on Google Search.
- Claim and verify your business listing: This ensures that your business information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Add photos and videos: This helps customers get a better sense of your business.
- Post updates: This is a great way to let customers know about new products, services, or events.
- Respond to reviews: This shows customers that you care about their feedback.
- Get insights into how people are finding your business: This information can help you improve your online presence.
#3. Google Assistant
- 2012: Google Now
- 2016: Google Assistant
Another change from the history of Google product names is Google Assistant. This program was introduced in 2016 as a replacement for Google Now. Whereas Google Now helps collect and send data through one-way communications, Google Assistant can do this through two-way interactions. Users can ask the assistant questions and the virtual program will respond.
Google Assistant is a virtual assistant developed by Google that is primarily available on mobile and home automation devices. Based on artificial intelligence, Google Assistant can engage in two-way conversations, unlike the company's previous virtual assistant, Google Now.
- Can answer your questions, even if they are open-ended, challenging, or strange.
- Can control smart home devices, such as lights, thermostats, and locks.
- Can play music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
- Can set alarms and reminders.
- Can get directions and traffic updates.
- Can translate languages.
- Can shop online.
- Can book appointments.
#4. Google Chat
- 2013: Google Hangouts
- 2021: Google Chat
Next on the Google product names timeline is Google Chat. Chat is a popular messaging app that is used by businesses and individuals alike. It is a great way to stay in touch with friends and colleagues, and it is also a valuable tool for collaboration. Formerly it was called Google Hangouts.
Hangouts was discontinued in 2022, so its users will have to start using Google Chat for live direct messaging purposes. Users can directly access this feature from Google Mail or by downloading the mobile app on your favourite app store.
- Real-time messaging: Users can chat with one another in real time, just like they would with a text message or an instant message.
- File sharing: Users can share files with one another, such as documents, photos, and videos.
- Video calls: Users can make video calls with one another.
- Spaces: Users can create spaces, which are chat rooms where multiple people can collaborate on projects or ideas.
- Integration with other Google products: Google Chat is integrated with other Google products, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive.
#5. Google Drive
- 2012: Google Drive File Stream
- 2021: Google Drive
Google Drive is a popular cloud-based storage platform that lets users synchronize files over many devices. Changing the name from Google Drive File Stream to the simplified Google Drive was a move made because people were already familiar with how users can stream files and access them among multiple devices.
The main reason for the change was to make it more clear that Google Drive is a cloud storage service, and not just a way to stream files from your computer.
- File storage: Users can store an unlimited amount of files in Google Drive.
- File sharing: Users can share files with others, either publicly or privately.
- File collaboration: Users can collaborate on files with others in real time.
- File preview: Users can preview files without having to download them first.
- Mobile app: There is a mobile app for Google Drive that allows users to access their files on the go.
#6. Looker Studio
- 2016: Google Data Studio
- 2022: Looker Studio
The name change occurred after Google acquired the data analytics company Looker. Looker and Google Data Studio had integrated with one another, but now Looker Studio provides a single platform for use. The simple design helps businesses review their data, plus it doesn’t require as many steps. There’s no need to convert data between programs either, as Looker Studio can analyze uploaded data and create new reports from what it finds.
Looker Studio gives businesses access to informative and accessible work dashboards and reports. The system helps convert data into new dashboards for analysis purposes. This program was originally introduced as a part of the Google Analytics 360 suite, helping businesses keep tabs on various operations.
- Data visualization: Users can create interactive dashboards and reports that visualize their data.
- Data exploration: Users can explore their data to find insights.
- Data collaboration: Users can collaborate on data projects with others.
- Data integration: Users can connect to a variety of data sources, including Google Cloud Platform, BigQuery, and Amazon Redshift.
- Customization: Users can customize their dashboards and reports to meet their specific needs.
It seems like Google product name changes are more common than other companies. Product rebranding is an expensive exercise and can potentially cause confusion to users, possible damage to brand equity, increased marketing cost, loss of SEO rankings (although probably not such an issue when you own the actual search engine and can ensure this isn't an issue), and technical difficulties as companies have to update its systems and processes to reflect the new product name.
While a behemoth like Google has near endless resources available to change the names of their products, apps and services whenever the need arises, for smaller companies this is not feasible.
Try to bear this in mind when considering a brand name for your company or app from the start. Visualise the future of your company or app and consider what audiences, markets, and industries it has the potential to tap into, then decide on a name that allows it to grow into those areas.