Google refers to “experimental Google Workspace apps”

Google refers to “experimental Google Workspace apps”

Google’s first year was marked by a series of experimental apps under the “Google Labs” banner. The company today added a strange setting for enterprise administrators to control “experimental Google Workspace apps”.

Administrators can use the new Experimental Apps Control setting to grant or deny users access to new or experimental Google applications and whether those apps have access to core service data.

This setting in the Google Admin Console – Apps> Additional Services from Google> Workspace Experiment Settings – addresses previous inability to turn experimental Google Apps on and off.

With the addition of the experimental app control, administrators can now better control selected services that users have access to.

Access is set to “ON by default for existing Google Workspace customers and OFF by default for Google Workspace for primary and secondary education (K-12).” The change is now being rolled out to administrators, but is not yet publicly available. The company today only provided the icon below.

Update: The support article that comes with the announcement is now live. It explains how:

Experimental apps are services and products developed by Google teams (like Area 120, Google’s internal product incubator). An experimental app can “upgrade” to become a Google service or product, or shut down.

Qaya for creating “simple, personal store fronts for creators” is the only experimental app available today.

9to5Google’s Take

The big surprise with today’s addition is of course that there are no experimental apps to speak of. The emphasis for this preference seems to be on the applications belonging to Workspace versus any other part of the company. This suggests a productivity focus.

The most obvious candidate for where these apps can come from is Area 120. That said, Google’s internal incubator does not have as many productivity services under its belt. Recent examples include Tables (a work tracking tool that was upgraded to Google Cloud), Threadit for video recording teams, and Stacks for scanning receipts and other paper documents. It was also the canceled Museletter for paid Google Docs newsletters.

That said, the Workspace team can actually work on a new application, and a candidate for what it could be is Playspace. Google Workspace acquired the Video, Screen Sharing and Whiteboard Collaboration Tool in September 2021. It is a a bit like Google Wave but can only be merged into (Google Chat) Spaces down the road.

Meanwhile, late last year, Google set up a “Labs” group focusing on “high-potential long-term projects.” This includes existing augmented and virtual reality projects, such as ARCore, the Starline conference booth and Area 120.

Ultimately, the setting probably serves as preparation for something that has not yet come and that may soon be announced.

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