Post

Google announced a new database builder app (and Airtable competitor): Google Tables

Several months back, Amazon AWS launched Amazon Honeyccode as a low-code app builder, something slightly akin to Airtable.

Then Microsoft launched Microsoft Lists as a way to "track information and organize work" and it, too, looks similar to Airtable's tables (or, perhaps, could be seen as bringing Microsoft Access to the web at long last).

Now Google's in the game, with a new product from their experimental Area 120 team: Google Tables. It, again, is an Airtable competitor. You make a database table, list data in rows, create custom views with kanban boards and more to visualize data, use built-in forms to add data, and use built-in Slack and Google Chat integrations to share data with your team.

Google Tables is perhaps most interesting for its pricing. Unlike almost every other software product Google makes, Google Tables is not fully free, and it's not bundled with G Suite's paid plans. Instead, you can get 100 tables with 1,000 rows each for free, which is less than Airtable which gives unlimited tables and 1,200 rows for free. Then for $10/month/user, you get 1,000 tables with 10k rows each (where, again, for that price Airtable offers unlimited tables, though only 5k rows per table, so here Google Tables is cheaper). Perhaps the new pricing means Google is more committed to this as a full product that they won't quickly shut down; maybe once its out of beta, it too will be rolled into perhaps a higher-tiered G Suite plan.

Also, Google Tables is geo-restricted to the US at the moment. The only way to open Google Tables' app outside the US is with a VPN.

At any rate, it's apparent that the software giants today see flexible databases as a core component in the modern office suite.

https://tables.area120.google.com/u/0/about#/

Share
bludrop's avatar
12 months ago

I can't imagine Google is really ever committed to any products... The longevity of a product like this will be very interesting.

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @bludrop )
12 months ago

It’s incredible how much trust Google has lost by not maintaining apps for the long haul. Shutting down Google Reader, Wave, Inbox, and more, then changing their chat strategy so many times, have made it feel almost risky trusting anything outside of the core G Suite offerings (where it’s nearly impossible to imagine say Gmail, Docs, and Sheets going away, but almost every other standalone app seems fair game).

Which is what makes me curious about Google Tables being launched as an Area 120 project from Google’s in-house incubator, with pricing at launch, instead of being bundled with the rest of the apps from the core G Suite team. Does that signify a higher or lower commitment to maintaining it than other Google apps? Time will tell.

5 points
pendolino's avatar
@pendolino (replying to @bludrop )
12 months ago

You hit the nail on the head. I think any somewhat sophisticated user that has experience with Google prefers to use a product that is a profit center for a company rather than a pet project. Give it 5 years and if its still around then maybe its worth a spin.

1 point
kvtoraman's avatar
12 months ago

They don't need to make the best product. I would use it if it integrates well with Google ecosystem.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @kvtoraman )
12 months ago

I think Google integration may be its greatest selling point. I’ve defaulted to using Google Forms recently, just because I need the data in Google Sheets and so using a form that puts the data directly into Sheets by default takes one step out of the process.

Will be interesting to see how deeply Google integrates Tables into the rest of their products, especially as it’s a separate product from G Suite.

1 point
mitchellreynolds's avatar
12 months ago

Given the size of their customer base, I'm assuming the pricing & location-exclusions are purposefully prohibitive. The most loyal G Suite users / teams could willing to experiment with this product. As an avid Alphabet fan, I'm very interested in exploring Tables - even if they shut it down later.

Also, I think you're right about the integration between their various offerings (Sheets, Forms, and now Tables). Their core competitive advantage is how they offer convenience within their ecosystem.

If Tables is successful, I could see the next steps being:
1. Axe Tasks (it's too limited)
2. Gcal integrations for projects

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mitchellreynolds )
12 months ago

I’d expect deep integration across the entire G Suite if Tables is to succeed. Imagine Google Forms pushing data into Tables, syncing a table with Sheets (or using standard Sheets formulas inside Tables as more of a hybrid spreadsheet/database), creating reports from Tables in Google Data Studio and embedding them into Google Slides presentations, being able to reference Tables data in-line inside Google Docs documents, sync events and tasks to Calendar, etc.

But even today, few of the rest of the G Suite apps are that integrated, so the chances seem a bit low, even if Tables is treated as a first-class app in Google’s ecosystem.

One can hope, though!

2 points
siddxxvii's avatar
12 months ago

Have a feeling this will replace the google tasks for gsuite users. But lets see how well google maintains this in product portfolio after beta.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @siddxxvii )
12 months ago

Interesting idea—that’s definitely Microsoft’s positioning for Lists. I think Google Tasks still has its place, but on the consumer side Google is already pushing Google Keep harder than Tasks, so the writing may be on the wall there.

Deeply curious where this will end up in Google’s product lineup post-beta. Does it join G Suite? Become part of a new higher-tiered G Suite plan?

1 point
siddxxvii's avatar
@siddxxvii (replying to @maguay )
12 months ago

I really think it will become part of Gsuite. Definitely wont be there for gmail user since its a team productivity tool but i see this falling in gsuite bundle

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @siddxxvii )
12 months ago

Well since there is a free version, it could make sense to include it in the full Google Apps bundle where free Gmail users get the free version, and paid G Suite users get the pro version. That'd push adoption and gain market share the fastest. But then again, they could put the free version in paid G Suite, and then add a new higher tier of G Suite with the pro version of Google Tables, and that could be an interesting way to increase their revenue per business customer without directly raising prices.

1 point
What's the best to-do list app in 2021?

When you've got too many things to do, how do you keep track of them all? Have you started using a new to-do list app recently, or found an old one is still doing the job well? The last time we di...

The community for power users.